Story: Lost Card Season 1

    Episode One

    Her eyes twinkled as she scanned her new environment. “Rosydew” she murmured the name of the hotel. It was well-known in the State and it was the most expensive place any guy could take his girl.
    Narissa pulled down the shade mirror of her car, turned on the lights as it was dark then fetched her Christian Dior lipstick and applied another coat of a rich deep red color. She smoothened her hair and made sure no strand was out of place; she took off the jacket she wore, so she could show cleavage.
    “Welcome to Rosydew Hotel Ma’m” a valet came for her keys.
    “Thank you Romeo” she smiled and fetched her phone.
    “Excuse me?” she called after the young man.
    “Where can I find the bar”? she asked nicely.
    “On the second floor, you can use the elevator” he directed.
    “Oh no! I’ll pass” she smiled and took off.
    There were many things about Narissa people did not know about. Firstly, she was claustrophobic. Secondly, she was dating the richest and most handsome man in town. Ife Martins had asked her out some days back and she had finally accepted his proposal.
    Asa grinned as she scrolled down her phone, her role model and woman crush had done it again.
    “Narissa hot girl”, the television presenter was at it again, she was just so adorable. She anchored the “Breakfast Daily” show and chaired the romance session.
    She was so engrossed by what she read that she failed to notice Obinna, her elder brother, who had just returned from work.
    “Get me a glass of water please” he groaned and sat on the bed next to her.
    “Obinna, welcome” she was happy to see him.
    “Where is Ekene”? he scanned the room for his younger brother.
    “I don’t know a thing about his whereabouts” she returned with a glass of water.
    “You don’t look happy, what is it”? she was very close with her elder brother and she could read him like a book.
    “Nothing baby, I just need to get some sleep” he began to pull off his clothes.
    “I see you’re in a nasty mood. If this would help, Narissa the hot girl made a comment on relationships similar to yours: “Get out of any relationship that is not healthy, that saps you of energy and peace of mind” Asa quoted the T.V presenter.
    “Who is Narissa the hot girl”? It seems you cannot get enough of her” he had heard his sister whine about the name.
    “Honestly, I want to be an on-air personality, just because of her. She is hot, talented and very intelligent. Just take a look” she offered him the phone.
    Reluctantly, Obinna took the phone from his younger sister who was obsessed with a celebrity.
    His eyes scanned the milky skinned half cast lady briefly, the mulatto was beautiful no doubt, but he wasn’t interested. His thoughts were on his girlfriend who had just broken up with him.
    “Isn’t she cute”? Asa’s eyes were filled with admiration.
    “I don’t have time for this, good night baby” he pecked her cheek and lay on the bed.
    Nkoli had broken up with him; she had scorned his lack of employment and his inability to take good care of her.
    “Goodnight” Asa whispered. She knew that whatever her brother was going through was tied to his selfish girlfriend, Nkolika.
    “You’ll be fine” she leaned on his shoulder and they both fell asleep.
    She wore a confident smile as she stepped into the bar. She always had a certain effect on people, especially men. The late rapper 2pac Shakur was right when he sang “All eyes on me”.
    Narissa was a five footer with a very nice shape. She had perky round breasts, a flat stomach, and hips that budged out unhindered. Her plump backside was her greatest asset, they rested on long slender legs. She was a Joselyn Dumas with the face of Beyonce.
    ‘What would you like to have”? A waitress appeared as she took a seat.
    “White wine for now” she replied.
    Then the waitress did the unthinkable, she fetched her phone and made a puppy face “please can I take pictures with you? Just a selfie”.
    “Of course” Narissa smiled, she always had this effect on people.
    “Oh my God, I cannot believe I am standing before Narissa the hot girl, I am so happy to meet with you. My name is Nkolika Nwandugo” she introduced herself.
    “Well I am happy to meet you too, keep watching my show” she smiled.
    “What’s going on here”? her date finally arrived.
    “Oh sorry sir, I was just taking her order” the waitress scurried off like a scared rabbit.
    “Good evening darling, are you aware you are the finest woman in this bar”? Ife’s eyes glowed as he took her features in, his eyes settled on the swell of her boobs.
    “Why do you flatter me” she blushed.
    She had not been in a relationship for five years since the death of her mother. She had buried all her emotions in her work, besides she was scared of love, her last boyfriend had been abusive.
    “Welcome gorgeous” Ife pulled a chair close to her.
    He found it hard to look elsewhere; she fit into the description of his dream woman.
    “So what took your time”? She asked.
    “I had a business deal to close up, I was having dinner with those men over there” he pointed his finger to a corner in the bar.
    “Oh, your company deals with Russians”? She scanned the faces of the Caucasians.
    “How did you know? Yes, we do have a branch in Berlin” he replied.
    “That’s wonderful, my mother was Russian” she replied quietly.
    “Was”? he arched a brow.
    “She died of lung cancer five years ago” Narissa swallowed.
    “I am sorry honey, I never knew” he gave her hand a comforting squeeze.
    “It’s alright, let’s talk about something else” she didn’t want to ruin their date.
    “I never knew Methocorp was that huge” she was pleased.
    “It is the biggest thing in Africa,” he said it with pride.
    “Stay still, you guys will make a nice couple” a photographer took a shot of them.
    “Shit! The media” Narissa tried to cover her face.
    “Hey, it’s okay, you said you’re proud of me. Let the world know we are dating. Let’s make them jealous” he held her hands.
    “Honestly Ife, I want us to leave here” she knew firsthand how the media could ruin relationships.
    “Okay honey, will you come to my place”? he offered.
    “Yes, yes. Any place far from here is fine”
    “Wait you haven’t taken your order” the waitress resurfaced with their drinks.
    Ife was a six footer;  he wore denim that clung firmly to his lean and hard body and a black shirt that complimented his tan brown skin; his eyes were light brown and alluring. Ife was not just rich, but very handsome, the kind of man she had always prayed for.
    “Here we are baby, welcome to Ife’s mansion” he sounded the horn and the gates quickly open on their own.
    “Where is the gateman”? she was shocked.
    “I have none, that’s technology” he winked.
    Her admiration for him grew, he had a good sense of humour, like Jidenna sang, Ife was a classic man.
     “I like this dress, looks good on you” he offered her a seat.
    “Have this” he returned with a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
    “Thanks, Ife, you are a gentleman” she took it from him.
    He joined her on the couch; the fragrance of her perfume bit his senses, it intoxicated him and he yearned to kiss her.

    Episode Two

    He joined her on the couch; the fragrance of her perfume bit his senses, it intoxicated him and he yearned to kiss her.
    Narissa felt his eyes bore into her but she couldn’t look at him; an odd sensation crept up her spine, she didn’t know why he affected her so much.
    “You are a very pretty woman Rissa, I am glad you’re mine” he made a bold move for a first date, he caressed her neck.
    “I am happy too” she dropped the glass and faced him then did the unthinkable; she leaned forward and kissed him.
    He accepted her lush lips readily, his hands traveled from her glorious neck to her soft breasts.
    “Are you okay with this”? He paused.
    “Yes,” she nodded.
    He pulled her closer to him and kissed her harder, a gentle cry escaped her lips.
    Slowly, his hands found the zipper of her gown and worked on it; the blue dress dangled off her body and she was left with her underwear.
    “You’re more beautiful than I thought, you’re a mermaid” blood rushed in his veins, his shaft was hard as he gazed upon her naked beauty.
    “Have you seen a mermaid before”? She began to unbutton him. She wasn’t a one night stand kind of person, but she just felt like grooving that night. There was something about Ife that she liked, she needed to explore more.
    Ife was a man who knew what he wanted. Unlike the other men that were intimidated by her beauty and class, Ife had met her while she was on a date with her best friend Iman. He told her he had been her secret admirer for long, after handing her his complimentary card, he stated his purpose.
    “Mummy, I want you to breastfeed me,” he said in a tiny voice and she burst out laughing.
    “Funny you, go ahead, I am all yours” she screamed.
    He looked into her eyes for some moments; he needed to make this very convincing.
    Then his wet mouth swallowed a hard tit, as he fed hungrily on it, her moans increased. This further heightened his ego, he couldn’t believe he had won the bet so easily. Next time, his best friend wouldn’t dare him.
    His hands trailed a line to the parting of her thigh, while the other rubbed her honeyed hips gently.
    “I am ready baby, just do it” she moaned as his fingers rubbed her moist thigh.
    “Say my name baby” he kissed her face as he readied his shaft.
    “Ife” she groaned.
    “I would make you feel so special” he parted her legs and begun to rock her like a wild horse.
    Narissa had never felt this good in a long while after her last boyfriend had broken her heart, she had kept off men for her sanity. However, Ife seemed different, though Iman her best friend was skeptical, she knew deep down he was the man for her.
    “That was good” he smacked her back as they both released.
    “I loved it” she smiled.
    “I need to take this, excuse me” he fetched his phone from the table and moved towards his bathroom, his father was calling.
    “I think I like him” she pressed a hand against her chest; her heart was beating very fast.
    As the delight of her orgasm faded, she realized she had a date with her father that same night.
    “Oh my God, I am so late” she jumped off and burrowed into her clothes.
    “Where are you off to”? he asked.
    “I had a date with my father” she replied.
    “Okay, I’ll call you. Bye” he backed her and began to dress.
    “Okay” she stuttered, she wasn’t too happy with his tone, as if he’d been waiting for her to leave.
    “I’ll call you tomorrow baby” Ife kissed her forehead.
    “Alright baby” she smiled and trotted out.
    “Shit! I spanked that ass. I fucked Narissa the hot girl, I can’t wait to tell him all about it” Ife dialed his best friend’s number, but it wasn’t going through.
    His tone had discouraged her, so she didn’t bother reminding him about her car. Instead, she took a cab back to Rosydew and picked it up by herself.
    “There we go again” she sighed as she thought about her father. Few months after her mother had died, the man she called father had married another, a wicked woman.
    Edna was her father’s new wife and she had stolen her dad totally from her. her father no longer took decisions without her influence. She sighed and thought about her late mom, they had been so perfect for each other till she got cancer, and that ruined the perfect love story.
    “Is that my Narissa? It’s been ages” her father was delighted to see her.
    “Nothing special about her homecoming, do you mind focusing on this meal I took hours to prepare”? Edna pulled her father back.
    “It’s okay father, eat up. I wouldn’t be staying so long anyway” Narissa rolled her eyes. She couldn’t wait to  get out of this place, coming home always made her uncomfortable.
    “Good evening Dad, evening Edna” she addressed her stepmother who had not paid her any attention since she drove into the compound.
    “How have you been my angel”? her father asked.
    “Fine” Narissa replied tightly. She was still thinking about Ife and his attitude towards her. Had she made a mistake by sleeping with a guy on a first date? She always advised girls against such but there she was doing the exact same thing.
    “Are you alright? You don’t seem too happy to be here” her father noticed her worn out look.
    “I am fine dad” Narissa settled into a chair.
    “You should go straight to the point, tell her while you really needed to see her,” Edna said.
    Narissa held her breath, she pressed her trembling hands on her thigh, why was the woman ignoring her?  Why did she always have to seize the slightest opportunity to hurt her?
    “You know Edna, if you really want to talk to me, you can call my name. I am not an object” she rose angrily to her feet and decided she had enough for one night.
    “Hey sweetie, wait, it’s good news” her father jumped to his feet.
    “And what news is that”? Narissa eyed her father suspiciously. She had never seen him this excited, had he won the lottery?
    “You are getting married soon” he cupped her face in his hands.
    “Married? I don’t understand, to whom”? she pushed his hands away. What was happening?
    “You’ll meet him soon, he is a very nice person, comes from a wealthy family, the type that suits you,” her father said.
    “I can’t believe you’d invite me home for this. Goodnight” she felt hurt her father could say something like that.
    “Wait for Narissa”! the man ran after her but she was already gone.
    “I told you, this wasn’t  a good idea” the man walked dejectedly back to his wife.
    “Don’t worry honey, she’ll come around” Edna had to make this work. Her husband’s finances had dwindled, getting Narissa hooked up to a wealthy family was her surety for the remaining days of her life which she intended to spend in luxury.
    Obinna worked in a shopping mall as an accountant; it wasn’t the kind of job he had dreamt of, the pay was average but he was still grateful for it. With his salary, he could still feed himself and his siblings, but that was where it ended.
    “I am not a failure” he muttered to himself as he dressed for work; Nkoli had spoken some harsh words to him, he wished she could look past his finances and love him just the way it was.

    Episode Three

    “I am not a failure” he muttered to himself as he dressed for work; Nkoli had spoken some harsh words to him, he wished she could look past his finances and love him just the way it was.
    The Nigerian Labour market wasn’t favourable for folks like him. He had no living parents or rich relatives to help him get a job even though he graduated with a good grade. He took a glance at Asa, who was still sleeping. That year would make her twenty-one and he still had not saved enough money to put her in a tertiary institution.
    His younger brother Ekene was a dropout, he preferred hanging out with his irresponsible friends to pursuing his education. Unlike Obinna, Ekene had no time to study hard and win scholarships, he preferred doing shady deals that brought in fast money.
    “Why are you talking to yourself?” Asa had been watching her brother.
    “I wasn’t talking to myself” Obinna replied.
    “Suit yourself, what’s your day like?” She yawned.
    “Normal day, go to the supermarket, sit at one spot, calculate how much we make every day and add the cost of customer goods. That’s how my day is going to be”
    As they were still speaking, the door to the “Self Con” flung wide open and there stood an angry-faced Nkoli.
    “Nkoli” Obinna’s faced brightened, had she changed her mind about the breakup?
    “I’ll give you guys a minute” Asa stepped outside.
    “Baby, good morning, I missed you so much” Obinna rushed and embraced her.
    “Morning” her muscles were stiff, her love for him had faded, she needed a man that could take good care of her and not some meager income earner with no future.
    “I love you so much Nkoli, please don’t break my heart” he released her when he realized she didn’t return the hug.
    “I came here to give you these. You can keep mine, I don’t need it” she tossed an envelope at him.
    “What’s this Nkoli?” He wondered.
    “Your pictures, I don’t want anything that belongs to a man like you to be in my possession, you are way beneath my expectations and dreams. I hate to say this Obinna but you’ll never be more than this” she swept him with her eyes, from head to toes.
    “How can you say such things to me? Have you forgotten all the help I rendered you in the past?” Obinna felt like a blade was cutting through him and he was powerless to stop this blade.
    “Help? Just because you gave me about fifty thousand Naira to pay for my sister’s fees, you feel you did something? Don’t flatter yourself, I will not miss you Obinna. Just move on to the next miserable girl you’ll be able to deceive” she hissed and walked away.
    “Nkoli please, don’t leave me. I love you very much, I promise to do anything you want. Whatever makes you happy, I am prepared to do it” he fell on his knees and held her dress.
    “It’s too late Obinna” she pushed him away and stepped outside. The display of affection between the customers she served further hardened her heart. She had taken selfies with Narissa the hot girl, wasn’t that a person who had a date that could afford dinner at “Rosydew”?
    “Goodbye failure” she rolled her eyes, then paused in her steps as she noticed a brand new car parked outside Obinna’s house. Her heart skipped as she spotted the driver.
    “Ekene! Where have you been?” Asa had been waiting outside when a black Honda Civic drove into the compound.
    “Is that how to welcome a brother you haven’t seen in two days?” He replied.
    “Good morning Ekene” Nkoli greeted. He was Obinna’s younger brother and hardly stayed at home.
    “Nkoli” he smiled as the light skinned beauty walked past him, he had always envied his brother from childhood, he seemed to be a magnet for good looking women.
    “Answer me” Asa repeated her question.
    “Did you miss me, little sister?” He moved towards her and swept her off her feet.
    “Put me down Ekene, I am no longer a child” she writhed against him.
    “Really? Because you’re all grown with hips and breasts? You’ll always be my little sister” he shook her in the air.
    Ekene and Obinna were eight and ten years older than her respectively.
    “Who owns that car? It’s beautiful. Do you have a job now?”  Asa fired him with questions.
    “Something like that, go in and pack your things, we’re moving to a new house” he instructed.
    “A new house? I don’t understand, where did you get the money?” She was confused.
    “Don’t argue sweetheart, just do it and get ready, you’re starting school soon” he dropped her on the ground and pushed her forward.
    “I don’t understand, is this a dream?” She was excited as she rushed into the house to share the good news with Obinna.
    The moment she stepped into the house, all her excitement melted away like ice as she met Obinna crying on his knees.
    “Obinna?” Her lips trembled, she had never seen him this way.
    “I am fine” he quickly wiped his face and rose to his feet. He couldn’t let his younger sister see him like this, he needed to be strong for her; for everyone.
    “What happened?” She asked.
    “Nothing” he replied.
    “Asamma! I am still waiting” Ekene’s voice interrupted them.
    “Is that Ekene”? Obinna asked.
    “Yes, you should pack your things too, we are moving to a new house” Asa explained.
    “A new house? I don’t understand” Obinna wondered what mischief Ekene was up to this time.
    “Good morning Obinna, you both should hurry, I have no time to waste” Ekene joined them inside.
    “What is this I hear about a new house?” Obinna asked.
    “Oh that, I also bought a car; you’ll love the house bro, it’s lovely” he smiled.
    “Stay right there” Obinna’s tone was stern as he pointed at his sister who was already packing.
    “What?” Asa stuttered.
    “Where did you get money to buy a house and a car? I will never follow you and neither will Asa. Go and spend your ill-gotten money alone, I don’t want anything to do with it” he knew Ekene very well. His younger brother had been a notorious cultist back in school, he knew what he was capable of.
    “Are you serious? Is this how you’re going to welcome me? is this your “Congratulations?” Ekene rolled his eyes.
    “You know yourself Ekene and I know you too, we’re brothers, I know what you are capable of. I will not allow you take Asa” Obinna said.
    Asa stood quietly and watched the exchange between her brothers
    “Why do I have a feeling you’re jealous of me?” Ekene rolled his eyes.
    “Jealous? Why would I be jealous of someone like you?” Obinna laughed.
    “It’s obvious you are a failure but that shouldn’t blind you to the success of other people. I know you think I did something shady to buy myself a car and a house but I hate to disappoint you, bro, my money is clean” Ekene fired at him.
    “Clean? I would believe that if I were dead” Obinna grabbed the envelope Nkoli had returned and the pictures in it fell out.
    “I am working with Methocorp, I am in charge of bottling the products, I made friends with Ife Martins and he offered me the job,” Ekene said.
    “This is my new number and address, you know where to find me little sister” he handed her the complimentary card and kissed her head.
    “I guess your girlfriend dumped you. Apparently, everyone is tired of being a failure. Ciao bro.” Those were Ekene’s last words before he stormed out of the house.
    “I am disappointed in you Obinna” Asa threw her bags angrily.

    Episode Four

    “I am disappointed in you Obinna” Asa threw her bags angrily.
    “Why? Because I am protecting you from him? I don’t want you to be close to Ekene, he would lure you into bad things” Obinna advised.
    “Lure me? I need to be close to him, he is my brother and I have a feeling you’re jealous of him” Asa spat out angrily.
    “Jealous? I can’t believe you’re also saying this” he was stunned.
    “Yes, you are. All your life, you felt you would always be better than him but look at this” she showed him the card,  “his money is clean, it is legit; this shows that all those times he spent outside, he was actually working on something. The same cannot be said about you” she hissed angrily and stepped outside the house.
    Tears filled his eyes as he watched her leave, why had everyone given up on him?
    “Stay tuned for tomorrow’s program, we’ll be talking something hot “One night stands”, see you all tomorrow” Narissa took the microphone off her dress. She had just finished recording an episode of the “Breakfast daily show”.
    “You did good honey, come over here let me show you something” her boss called to her.
    “Thanks, everybody” Narissa rolled her eyes as she walked towards her boss.
    “How are you? Are you okay? I noticed you seemed kind of lost on today’s episode, what happened?” Mrs. Arinza, the producer of the show asked.
    “I am fine” she placed a hand on her forehead.
    “Really?” Mrs. Arinze asked.
    “Yes, I am” Narissa avoided the woman’s eyes. She was lying, something was eating her up.
    Ife had not called her that morning, he had not even cared to check up on her the night before; her heart raced, what if he had just been after her body and she had played right into his trap?
    “If you say so. Whatever you’re going through, I hope it isn’t man problems; that would be a great distraction for your job here” the woman pulled open her drawer and fetched an envelope.
    “Man problems? I am not even dating” she told another lie.
    “Really Narissa? Take a look at this, it seems you and the billionaire guy are doing more than talking” she pulled a picture of Ife and Narissa smiling.
    “Shit, paparazzi” Narissa cursed.
    “Is he the reason you’re sad?” Mrs. Arinze inquired.
    “No, I met with my father yesterday, he shared something very disturbing, I have been depressed since then” she distracted the woman with another story.
    “Oh, I see. I am sorry I jumped to the conclusion that you were having man trouble” she apologized.
    “Apology accepted, I have to go now” Narissa spotted her best friend Iman at the far end of the studio.
    “Very well then” Mrs. Arinze nodded.
    “You are looking beautiful, why aren’t you wearing your hijab today?” She ran her eyes over her friend, Iman was Muslim.
    “Some days could be different” Iman replied. They had been friends for three years now and good ones. They confided in and trusted each other.
    “You aren’t looking bad yourself” Iman took a glance at her best friend. Narissa was a very beautiful girl, the most attractive woman she had ever come across and she felt proud to have her as a friend.
    “Thanks, so where are we headed today?” Narissa asked.
    “I don’t know, maybe the movies, have you seen “Alter Ego?” Iman asked.
    “You should answer that, you are the movie freak” Narissa joined her in the car.
    “It’s going to be hot, I saw some pictures of it. I never knew Omotola “Omosexy” could be so good in bed” Iman snorted.
    “Why would you say that? Is it porn?” Narissa rolled her eyes.
    “Nah, she was very sexual there, I’ve never seen her in anything like that” Iman replied.
    “Whatever! Can you face the road so you don’t get us both killed?”
    “Funny you, I love you, you know that right?” Iman winked at her friend.
    “How is your relationship with Kareem? You stopped talking about the guy” Narissa asked.
    “I don’t know Narissa, that relationship isn’t working, I wish I could find my own prince charming” Iman inhaled.
    “Of course you will, one day” Narissa shrugged, she thought about her own experience the night before. How could she tell her friend about what had transpired between her and Ife? Iman had already objected to the relationship, she prayed in her heart that her fears would not come to pass.
    She feared Ife had only wanted to sleep with her.
    “One day? It’s easier for you to say when dozens of guys trip over themselves just to get close to you. I am not as hot as you are, remember?” Iman stared at her rearview mirror.
    She was a chocolate skinned Kanuri girl with average features, she could never stand up to Narissa in beauty but that had never made her envious of her dear friend.
    “Are you serious? Are you now saying that beauty is a criterion to win love? Last I checked, even Tiwa got her heart broken” Narissa pouted.
    “You see? That’s what I am talking about, guys are always waiting for you, let me clarify for the dude” Iman had noticed a black car that had been following them.
    “Whatever, just tell me you felt like getting apples from the mall” Narissa laughed as Iman rushed into the mall.
    “Whatever” Iman shut the door behind her.
    “Friends! Life would be boring without them” Narissa murmured. She was yet to tell Iman about what her father had proposed, she would save the gist for later.
    “Baby” a rich male baritone drawled and her heart skipped.
    “Ife? What are you doing here? You were the one following us?” She felt delighted to see him.
    “I am sorry I couldn’t call you, I’ve been so busy. I miss you so much honey” he reached out to touch her hair with his hands.
    “I thought…” Narissa paused like something had bit her tongue out.
    “Thought what?” Ife widened his eyes.
    “Nothing, never mind, I am just glad you are here” she stepped down from the car and stood next to him.
    “You thought I was a hit and run guy? That it was all about the sex?” He scoffed.
    “Yes,” she blushed.
    “I like you Narissa and I want us to be together” he kissed her lips in the open. This time, she did not resist or caution him. She didn’t give a hoot about the paparazzi or whoever was watching, she melted in his arms, the arms of the man that made sweet love to her.
    It took him the courage to leave the house and come to work; the day was a terrible one for him, it felt it was marked out for negativity.
    First Nkoli had returned with his pictures and had lashed more venomous words at him. Then the two people he loved and cherished most had turned their backs on him; even the least expected person Asa, reminded him that he was a failure.
    Obinna was a strong man, their words had shredded his dignity and sense of importance but he was determined more than ever prove them wrong. He wasn’t a failure, God had not made him a failure and he was going to fight back. He would surprise the world.
    “Where is Uche?” A slender young lady asked.
    “Uche”? Obinna was confused.
    “Oh, you’re new I guess, he used to be in your position” Iman smiled at the sales boy, he was cute.
    “Yes I am, welcome Madam” Obinna returned her smile, a smiling face was exactly what he needed.
    “Give me a minute, let me pick some things” she fetched a basket and disappeared.
    He nodded and faced his work. She was right, he was new here, his previous boss had sacked him without pay but the owner of the mall had accepted him readily without questioning his past working experience.

    Episode Five

    He nodded and faced his work, she was right, he was new here, his previous boss had sacked him without pay but the owner of the mall had accepted him readily without questioning his past working experience.
    “Are you going to buy all that?” His eyes widened as she returned with two baskets filled with apples.
    “Sure, one for me and one for you” she winked.  There was something about the guy, he looked learned, she had been stealing looks at him while shopping.
    “You’re funny” Obinna laughed.
    “Funny? I am serious, it’s for you, if you don’t like it, you can pick something else” Iman shrugged.
    “Wow! I can’t believe this. You just made my day ma’am” Obinna stared at her bewildered. So, people could still bring happiness to others, even when they were buried in pain. Her face was oval, her nose was straight, her almond brown eyes were covered by a canopy of long black lashes, this was his angel. She was an angel, he decided.
    “Thanks. What’s your name?” Iman got bolder. She had studied outside the country and it wasn’t a crime to ask a guy out over there, only in Nigeria would people make a fuss about it.
    “Obinna” he answered.
    “Good. I am Iman” she stretched out her hand.
    “Nice name, what does it mean?” He was curious.
    “Faith, it’s Arabic” she explained.
    “Now we know each other’s name, I will love for us to hang out sometime, you can call me anytime you’re free.  Here’s my number” she handed him a card.
    “Okay” he stuttered and stared at the card, then gazed at her. She was the daughter of one of the Northern elites in the country, why would she want to hang out with someone like him?
    “Are you okay?” She could tell he was uncomfortable.
    “Yes, I am. I will call you” Obinna nodded.
    “Please help me to my car, I have fragile wrists” she grinned.
    “All done” Obinna fetched the basket and followed her to the car.
    They both exchanged meager information about themselves as they walked; they approached the car and froze at the sight of two love birds kissing.
    “Narissa!” Iman had never seen her friend in such compromising situation.
    “Oops, we got caught. You remember Ife, right?” Narissa asked.
    “Of course, who would forget such a fine gentleman?” Iman rolled her eyes and slid into her car.
    “Good afternoon” Obinna greeted the lovers, he dropped the basket in the car trunk and was about leaving when Ife called him back.
    “Sales boy!” He snapped his fingers.
    “He has a name” Iman shot at him. She had sensed his arrogance from day one and had tried to warn her friend about him but she wouldn’t listen.
    “Yes, sir?” Obinna didn’t take offense.
    “Bring me another basket for my angel here” Ife gave his order.
    “Alright sir” Obinna hurried back to the mall.
    Ife noticed a change in Narissa, “What is it, honey?”
    “Nothing. I am fine” she smiled. She wasn’t comfortable with the way he had addressed the young man like Iman had said, “he has a name”.  She also felt odd, he walked past her without flinching, had he not heard about Narissa the hot girl? He didn’t even spare her a glance.
    “Okay then, I want you to be at my house tonight, I want to treat you like a real queen” Ife stared into her eyes.
    “I’ll call you” she joined Iman in the car as the young man resurfaced with another basket of apples.
    “Are you dumb?” Ife scowled at the Sales boy.
    “Darling, what is the problem?” Narissa stepped down from the car.
    “I am sorry sir but this is what you asked for, apples” Obinna replied.
    “I said red apples dummy not green ones. Now take them back and do as you are told” he hissed.
    “Honey, it’s okay, I love green apples too” Narissa came to the boy’s aid.
    “Alright then, we’ll see later. I have a meeting” he kissed her, paid for the apples and drove away.
    “I am really sorry about that, you know what stress does to people, he is a busy man” Narissa apologized on Ife’s behalf.
    “I am not offended, it’s my job to serve customers” Obinna shrugged then waved at Iman.
    “We’ll be seeing soon darling, bye” she waved back.
    The young man walked away without looking back; Narissa had to stare at the mirror one more time, was there something covering her face? Why wasn’t he moved like other men?
    “Are you okay?” Narissa had suddenly turned grim.
    “I am fine” she replied Iman.
    “So tell me, when did you start kissing guys in the open? Have you forgotten that you are a public figure? A lot of people look up to you Narissa. You shouldn’t be seen hanging around that punk-faced idiot” Iman hissed.
    “Punk faced idiot? That’s my boyfriend you’re talking about. Ife is a very nice and responsible guy, you should mind the way you talk about him” she was not pleased with her friend.
    “Why are you so blind to his charms? Ife isn’t a nice person, just look at what he did today; look at the stunt he pulled at the mall. Was he right in using abusive words on Obinna?” Iman asked.
    “Everyone has their flaws, Iman, you have yours and I have mine. We can never be perfect. I know Ife, he is a good man and he would never do anything to hurt me. I know you are scared for me, but don’t be, I can take good care of myself.
    “There you go again, making excuses for him. You hardly know this guy, he just asked you out recently and you said “Yes”, you know nothing about him. I love you so much Narissa and I don’t ever want to see you get hurt” Iman was very much concerned about her friend.
    “With what you’re doing now, pulling down Ife? I doubt you really want my happiness” Narissa flared. Why couldn’t Iman mind her business and focus on her own relationship?
    “I am not pulling him down, Ife isn’t a good guy, take it or leave it” Iman wouldn’t be silenced.
    “You know what? Stop this stupid car right now. I know your problem Iman and I am so disappointed, I never knew you could condescend so low” Narissa yelled angrily.
    “Excuse me? What are you talking about?” Iman pulled over.
    “You are just jealous of me” Narissa blurted out.
    “Jealous of you? I could never envy you, even in a thousand years! Do I have a reason to?” Iman was hurt her friend would consider this.
    “Of course. I am way hotter than you, I am the only sun in the sky, guys like me and it isn’t my fault they aren’t coming your way. It isn’t my fault you are ugly Iman, it isn’t. From the first day you set eyes on Ife, you hated him, today has proven what’s really in your heart. You want him for yourself. You are crazy and bitter that you cannot have him, so what do you do? You try to talk me into dumping him so you can go after him. I know girls like you, I am surprised you could pretend for this long” she blurted out and got out of the car.
    “Narissa? How could you say such hurtful things to me?” Iman felt glued to the spot as the threads that bound their friendship unraveled.
    “I don’t regret anything that I have said. Goodbye” she waved down a taxi.
    “Narissa wait! I didn’t mean to get you upset, this is all my fault. I am sorry, I promise never to talk about Ife” Iman’s eyes were bright with unshed tears but Narissa was already gone.
    “I should have focused on my business. Now my best friend is going to hate me forever, I need to fix this” she wiped her face.

    Episode Six

    “I should have focused on my business. Now my best friend is going to hate me forever, I need to fix this” she wiped her face.
    The bright golden rays of the sun had been replaced by a dim orange glow, the evening had come and he needed to return home.
    He waved down a taxi that led to the apartment where he had once lived with his younger brother. Although Ekene seemed to have made it, he still did not trust his source of Income. How could a dropout get a job at Methocorp? A highly rated company, what was the criterion used in gaining employment there?
    He decided to let the matter rest but he was sure he would never let his sister Asamma out of his sight. He didn’t trust Ekene.
    A smile played on his face as she thought about the apples a customer had given to him.
    “Iman” he murmured her name. The angel God had sent to make him smile after such a bad day. He knew Asa loved apples very much, he usually bought one every day for her, it didn’t cost much. This full basket was going to blow her away and she would have no other option but to forget Ekene’s proposal to her.
    He searched his pocket for the card Iman had given to him, she was obviously from a very wealthy home, why had she wanted to be friends with him? What did she see in him that Nkoli had failed to see?
    Was this  God’s way of giving him the rightful connections that he lacked? He had so many questions.
    A warm feeling caressed his chest as he thought about Iman; she seemed like a lovely and fun person. Her kindness towards him made him forget his recent troubles.
    The man that was with her friend was terribly rude to him but he had not minded, he had seen worse; some customers were insatiable and highly ungrateful, even though you chose to mop the ground they walked on.
    He thought about the biracial woman that was with Iman, she seemed oddly familiar, had he seen her before? She seemed too nice to be with such an arrogant man. Maybe she had shopped at the mall before, he shrugged and stepped into the house.
    “Asa? Where are you? Guess what I brought home, your favorite” he called to her. He’d met the door open, maybe she was in the bathroom or kitchen.
    He was so famished, he loosened his tie at the thought of food; he wondered what Asa was up to.
    “Asa?” he called again but there wasn’t any answer.
    He yawned and rose to his feet and moved straight to the kitchen first, then the bathroom.
    “Where is this girl?” He paused. Was she still mad at him for what he said to Ekene? Well, he would apologize to her but not to Ekene. He knew him too well, his ways weren’t straight.
    The house was as quiet as a graveyard; the quietness of the house didn’t bring him peace like it would others; it plagued him with thoughts, it jabbed him with memories he had tried to forget.
    He still thought about the woman he loved, the woman he cared about, Nkolika, was she thinking of him too?
    His eyes strayed to a tiny piece of paper that lay on the bed. What was that? He reached for it.
    “How could she do this?” His hands trembled as he read the note from Asa.
    They had met about a year ago and became fast friends. Ekene and himself shared like passions; one of the reasons he had offered his new friend a job. He saw him as the type that would serve Methocorp diligently and he was a street guy, they knew how to keep secrets.
    He had fixed lunch at ‘Rosydew’ for them both, they had a lot to discuss and his success at luring Narissa into his bed would make the front page of their conversation.
    A confident glow rose on his face as he went from his car to the hotel; he was the richest man in Africa and a beautiful woman like Narissa was already warming his bed; he couldn’t wait to get more from her tight little body.
    “I see you are already here” Ife spotted Ekene at one corner of the bar.
    “Yes man, how are you?” Ekene shook hands with him.
    “Good. Never better, I met my girlfriend, told you I would fuck that girl” Ife announced.
    “Funny, I am yet to see a picture of this girl” Ekene scoffed. They had been drinking at a club a few months back and an argument broke out between two guys who sat close to their table.
    “Narissa the hot girl is the sexiest celebrity in Nigeria,” one of them said; while the other disagreed.
    Ekene found it amusing that two ordinary men would argue over celebrities who knew nothing about them.
    “I’ve seen the chic, she’s really hot like her name implies” Ife had chipped in.
    “Really? If you can fuck this celebrity, I’d buy you a bottle of “Red label” Ekene had challenged.
    “Seriously? You think any sane woman can refuse me? I don’t have to prove anything to you” Ife had bragged.
    Ekene blinked the memories away and stared at Ife in shock.
    “Seriously? Can I see a picture of this girl?” He asked.
    “Not yet, where is my red label” Ife lifted a hand in the air.
    “How am I sure you fucked her anywhere? Where is the proof? Give me something. You could be lying, you know” Ekene said.
    “Are you kidding? Why would I lie about sleeping with Narissa? It’s real man” Ife scoffed.
    “Well, maybe you should’ve gotten proof. Next time you do something like that, I’ll need pictures or videos or voice notes, anything to prove you really did it” Ekene suggested
    “That wouldn’t be a problem, if I provide you with evidence, I am going to take your new car” Ife licked his lips greedily.
    “Deal” Ekene shrugged. He doubted Ife could bed a celebrity. He knew his friend quite well, he was arrogant and bossy, those qualities would put a normal girl off talk more a celebrity.
    “So how’s your family? It’s been six months and I haven’t met them, yet you have met mine. What’s happening?” Ife asked and beckoned the waitress to their table.
    “Um, fine. My elder brother is envious of me so only Asa moved in with me. I don’t give a hoot about him anyway. He can rot in hell for all I care” Ekene spat the words, the thought of Obinna embittered him.
    “What if I offered him a job? Maybe he could stop being envious” Ife suggested.
    “Hell no. Obinna feels he is righteous and all of that; he would be the first to sell us out” Ekene drummed his fingers on the table.
    “Alright then” Ife riveted his eyes to the waitress.
    “Ekene? Good afternoon” she was surprised to see him at “Rosydew”.
    “Nkoli. You work here?” Ekene’s eyes widened, his brother’s ex-was the last person he’d expected to see.
    “You two know each other?” Ife’s eyes darted between both of them.
    “Yes, she is my girlfriend now” Ekene reached out for her hands and rubbed them. He couldn’t think of a better way to piss off his annoying brother; this wasn’t all just about Obinna; Nkoli was a belle and he needed to have a taste of her.
    “Wow, congratulations, you two would have to excuse me, I have to pick this” Ife moved away from them; his father had called the eleventh time that week. Why wouldn’t the old man leave him alone?

    Episode Seven

    “Wow, congratulations, you two would have to excuse me, I have to pick this” Ife moved away from them; his father had called the eleventh time that week. Why wouldn’t the old man leave him alone?
    Slowly, he cut all the pictures he’d taken with Nkoli while they were dating into tiny pieces. He was done crying; he needed to stay alive and to do that, he needed his strength.
    Obinna rose to his feet and poured the paper pieces into a trash can; that was the end of that part of his life. He needed to focus on what lay ahead.
    He stared at the apples on the table; he had not taken any out of it, he had lost appetite for food since he returned to an empty house. Asa’s words cut him deeply. He had torn the paper into pieces but he still couldn’t get the words out of his mind.
    He took a deep breath and turned on the television. “I’ll survive” he muttered to himself and picked an apple from the basket.
    “One night stands are dangerous, you could be leaving a delicate part of you with a total stranger,” the woman on the television said.
    “Narissa” a smile curved on his lips as he recognized her instantly. She was even more beautiful in person than on camera. He recalled how Asamma had always spoken about the lady.
    “That reminds me” he rushed to the bed and fetched the complimentary card Iman had given to him.
    He reduced the volume of the television and dialed her number, she was a cheerful person and talking to her would make him feel better.
    “Hello, good evening, it’s the sales boy on the line” he made attempt at a joke.
    “Good evening, sales boy? Please, who am I speaking with?” Although the voice seemed familiar, she couldn’t place the owner.
    “It’s Obinna, you bought me apples, remember?” He laughed dryly, it was a sad laugh.
    “Oh, you. Why did you call yourself “Sales boy”? You sure are more than that” Iman cautioned him.
    “I thought it would make you laugh, that’s why” he replied.
    “Really? That’s sweet to hear. Where are you?”
    “I am home” the sadness returned to his voice.
    “You don’t sound too happy, what happened?” Iman could tell he was hurting.
    “Family problems” Obinna replied.
    “Is it financial? Maybe I could help, please talk to me” she liked him already, she had been instantly drawn to him from their first meeting.
    “No. No. I just… Let’s talk about something else” he couldn’t open up about what his siblings did to him.
    “I see” something was definitely wrong with him.
    “Text me your address, I want to see you” she said bluntly.
    “Are you sure you want to come to my place? It isn’t exactly a place for people like you” Obinna was surprised she wanted to visit.
    “Text me the address. One more thing, you know nothing about “People like me” she said before ending the call.
    “Wow, tiger” he laughed. Iman from the outside looked fragile, like a piece of glass that could easily be tossed on the ground and trampled upon but the aura she exuded was the exact opposite.
    She sounded smart, forward and courageous, all wrapped in one and that was truly amazing.
    He quickly typed his address and sent the message to her; already she had given him a good laugh, talking to her in person would be a lot more fun.
    He turned off the television; his appetite had returned, so he went to the kitchen to make himself some food.
    Thirty minutes later, there was a knock on his door, he rushed towards it and found her smiling face staring at him.
    “You look surprised; did you think I wouldn’t come?” She pushed past him and stepped into the house.
    Asa glued her eyes to the Plasma T.V that was glued to the wall in Ekene’s enormous living room. Her role model was giving people tips on how to handle one night stands.
    She didn’t have any regret whatsoever about leaving Obinna’s house; Ekene’s was way better than their older brother’s one bedroom apartment.
    “What a nice one, Narissa” she yawned and turned off the television. It had been ten hours since she last set eyes on her brother Ekene. She stared at the clock again, where was he?
    Just then, the front door burst wide open and a smiling Ekene sauntered in.
    “Ekene! Where have you been?” She rushed to meet him.
    “Out. I bought you something you like very much” he kissed her face then handed her a bagful of apples.
    “Wow, I am going to take these for a month” she grinned in excitement.
    “A month? Knowing you well, the apples will be gone before morning” he replied.
    “Thanks” she replied.
    “You are welcome. I want you to eat very well and look healthy when you start school. I want the best for you Asa” he caressed her face.
    “I know, that’s why I moved away from Brother Obinna, he is too backward. If he had plans for his own life, he would be right here with us” she nodded.
    “You’re right darling, so what have you been up to?” He asked.
    “Watching T.V, you have a nice place” she complimented him.
    “Thanks, what’s your favorite channel? I don’t know if there’s Telemundo here, girls love Korean channels” he turned on the television.
    “Oh it’s a double show?” her eyes widened as she stared into the eyes of Narissa, they were showing an old episode of “Breakfast daily”.
    “Who is she? She is breathtaking” Ekene stuttered.
    “Ya Ya, that’s Narissa the hot girl, my role model. I want to be like her someday” Asa rattled on but her brother wasn’t paying attention.
    Ekene was enchanted by this rare beauty; he had a thing for light skinned women, one of the reasons Nkoli attracted him. This one, however, was the most beautiful light skinned woman he had ever seen and he needed to have her for himself.
    “Why are you smiling?” Asa asked. Ekene’s reaction was totally different from Obinna’s; when she had told Obinna about Narissa and even shared pictures of her, he shrugged it off, like he didn’t care but Ekene was totally blown away by her beauty.
    “Nothing. I have something I’d love to share with you, I know it’s weird but I need your support” he took her hands in his’.
    “What’s the problem, brother mine?”
    “I asked Nkoli out today and she said “Yes” so you’ll be seeing her more often here,” he said.
    “Nkoli? Who is she?” Asa swallowed, hoping to be disappointed.
    “Obinna’s ex-girlfriend” the words slid off his tongue easily.
    “What? Why would you even date her? She broke Obinna’s heart and she’s just after your money. I beg you Ekene, don’t do this wicked thing, what if Obinna gets wind of this? He’ll be deeply hurt. You are a wealthy man, you can get any woman you want, please don’t date Nkoli” Asa advised.
    “Whose side are you on?  Mine  or Obinna’s?” Ekene arched his brow.
    Asa avoided his eyes; her silence was answer enough.
    “Good. Now go and get some sleep, there’s someone I’ll like you to meet” he patted her shoulder and retired for the night.

    Episode Eight

    “Good. Now go and get some sleep, there’s someone I’ll like you to meet” he patted her shoulder and retired for the night.
    Ife had invited her over for dinner and she was going to go. As she drove towards his place, she thought about Iman’s words. Iman had not known Ife for long and had no right to judge him like that; her friend’s behavior had pissed her off and she deserved the tongue lashing she had given her. Narissa hissed angrily as the memory of what had transpired between herself and Iman came to mind.
    She wasn’t sorry, she had no regrets for the things she had said to her, all she yearned for was Ife’s love and that wasn’t a crime.
    She thought about the way his hands had brought her so much pleasure on their first night together, the way his lips had felt on hers; her heart fluttered as she imagined spending more time with him. It felt foolish and a bit fast but she had a feeling she had fallen in love with Ife.
    She pressed the car horn as she arrived his mansion. He was the perfect man, the kind she had always wanted: Strong, independent and classy. The ringing of her phone distracted her for some minutes, she decided to take the call.
    ‘Hello,’ she answered, she had not bothered to check the caller identity.
    ‘Narissa, you’ll have to come home tomorrow so you can meet your husband-to-be’
    ‘Edna? How the hell did you get my number?’ She hissed angrily as she realized her stepmother had called.
    ‘Your father wasn’t strong enough to deliver this message, I am only doing you a favor. Make sure you’re here for dinner’ she said and ended the call abruptly.
    ‘Bitch of a woman, such nerve!’ She cursed and drove into the compound.
    She thought her father had been joking when he had told her about his crazy marriage plans for her; who arranged spouses for their kids in this twenty-first century, she wondered.
    ‘Hello darling, how are you?’ Ife joined her.
    ‘Ife…’ all her anger melted away as she stared into his eyes.
    ‘What’s wrong? You don’t look too good honey’ he pulled open her car door and slid in.
    ‘Nothing. Can we go inside?’ she forced a smile not wanting to ruin their dinner with her personal life.
    ‘No, tell me, talk to me’ Ife seemed eager to know what bothered her.
    Narissa was not a complicated woman, he had no feelings for her and didn’t plan to, he just got close to her to win the bet he’d with Ekene. To make their relationship seem convincing to her, he needed to appear caring and interested in her life.
    ‘Okay, if you insist’ she shrugged.
    ‘I had a terrible argument with my friend Iman, that’s not what’s pissing me off now. My father wants me to get married’ she gestured with her hands.
    ‘That’s not a problem; if I had a daughter, I would love for her to be married. You aren’t a feminist, right’? He asked.
    ‘Nah, feminism isn’t my thing. I’ll love to get married to the right person too but my father has already chosen a man for me. Can you imagine that?’
    ‘Now that’s crazy, why would he do something like that? You are an adult and your choices need to be respected’ Ife shook his head.
    ‘Exactly, I would never grant him his wish though’ she shrugged and let the matter die.
    ‘You look beautiful by the way, can I kiss you?’ His voice was low and seductive.
    ‘Why, thank you. You are free to kiss me; my lips are all yours’ Narissa felt sparks of pleasure tickle her skin as she gazed into his dark eyes.
    ‘Come here’ he drew her head closer and placed his lips over hers. The kiss was a long and slow one; Ife was an expert kisser and knew just how to buy any woman’s heart.
    His hands crawled from her back to her neck then downwards to the swell of her boobs.
    ‘Can I?’ He paused, then dipped a hand into his pocket and pressed the button of the mini recording machine he carried with him.
    ‘Yes, I have never done it in the car’ she winked.
    Her permission was all he needed before ripping off her clothes; he could feel her breath, she was hungry, hungry for him.
    ‘Hurry’ she whispered as he unclasped her bra and her breasts fell free.
    ‘I will make you enjoy this’ he parted his lips and swallowed one swollen nipple; a soft cry escaped her lips.
    ‘So you live alone?’ Iman inquired as she took a seat on his bed.
    ‘Not really’ he shrugged and joined her.
    ‘Why are the apples still here? Don’t you have friends or neighbors?’ She rolled her eyes and fetched one from the basket.
    ‘I do’ Obinna avoided her eyes, how could he tell her about the drama that had taken place earlier in this house?
    ‘Hey, you can talk to me, I had a bad day too; maybe sharing mine will cut loose your tongue’ she dropped the half eaten apple and faced him.
    ‘You remember the beautiful light skinned woman you saw with me earlier?’ Iman raised a brow.
    ‘Yes,’ he nodded.
    ‘Narissa is a celebrity, we have been best friends for three years but now I fear we would never be that again’ Iman sighed as she remembered her friend’s scathing words.
    ‘I know Narissa from my sister, it’s a privilege to have someone as beautiful and talented as your friend. Why do you think your friendship would end?’ Obinna searched her eyes.
    ‘You know when you feel certain somebody is going to make a mistake and you try to warn them beforehand and they turn you away? That’s what’s happening, I advised her concerning something she likes but she got pissed off’ Iman tried explaining.
    ‘I understand you, I had a similar experience today’ he shrugged.
    ‘Tell me about that, release your pain’ she reached for his hands.
    ‘I had a fight with my siblings earlier today and my girlfriend broke up with me; they all termed me a failure’ his voice was shaky.
    ‘Failure? You don’t look like a failure to me’ she moved closer. From the moment she had set eyes on Obinna, he seemed like the perfect guy for her.
    ‘Are you sure about that? You know next to nothing about me’ he scoffed.
    ‘I know nothing about you but I feel deep down that you are special and anyone who doesn’t see that is a fool’ she replied.
    ‘I graduated four years ago and I haven’t been able to find a good job, isn’t that a mark of failure?’ He asked.
    ‘Not at all. Being unemployed isn’t tantamount to failure’ she reassured him.
    ‘Are you sure?’ He stared into her eyes, she seemed to believe in him.
    ‘Yes, I could swear it. You are built for greatness’ her eyes ran over his chocolate complexion, Obinna wasn’t just a humble man, he was handsome.
    ‘Thanks, Iman’ he inhaled sharply as their eyes met. Her gaze was a flame that burned his eyes yet he couldn’t look away.
    Iman licked her lips nervously, she leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss on his lips; she’d had the urge to do that since she walked into his house.
    Obinna was shocked as Iman kissed him but he didn’t push her away; her kiss had brought him warmth and he didn’t want to be left with that emptiness, so he returned her kiss.
    She moved her body closer to his, his lips tasted sweet and burned her with more desires. Her hand found his and led it to her breasts.
    ‘Iman…’ Obinna pulled back as she led him to her breasts.
    ‘You don’t have to be afraid, I want you to touch me Obinna, maybe this could take away your pain’ she rose to her feet.

    Episode Nine

    ‘You don’t have to be afraid, I want you to touch me Obinna, maybe this could take away your pain’ she rose to her feet.
    ‘I..I don’t know what to say’ he stuttered as she begun to undress.
    ‘Say nothing, just kiss me’ she pulled him up and pressed his lean body against hers.
    Iman swiftly fought with his buttons; she had this craving, this desire for him to touch her.
    Obinna caressed her slender neck, he couldn’t remember the last time he had made love to Nkoli; she had always complained about money, he hoped he was doing the right thing.
    He took her lips in his and sucked them gently, then lifted her so carefully, like she was glass and dropped her on the bed.
    ‘Make love to me Obinna’ she rubbed his head gently. He didn’t say a word, he simply stared at her and continued with kissing her lips. His hands traveled all over her body; he could sense her need, it was raw and pure, no pretense.
    Then he plunged his shaft into her and rode her like a warrior would ride a stallion into battle.
    ‘Baby…’ she moaned and writhed against him, till her world came shattering down as she reached the point of no return, the ultimate point where all lovers meet.
    Obinna pressed a soft kiss on her forehead. As he made love to her, he opened up himself and released all the hurt, the suffering, and humiliation that he endured while with Nkoli. He gave up the bitterness that had grown inside him. Iman had helped him, she was his freedom.
    Iman was quiet for a while, no man had ever made her feel this way; this man was so good in bed. If she were in good terms with Narissa, they’d talk about that all day.
    ‘What?’ Obinna noticed she was smiling.
    ‘Nothing’ a shy smile played on her lips.
    ‘Tell me’ he sat up and watched her.
    ‘You’re very good in bed’ she rose to her feet and hurried into her clothes.
    ‘Thank you’ he laughed. He felt better after the sex, his spirits had been lifted up and depression had fled.
    ‘I have to go now’ Iman announced.
    Obinna was silent, he had really enjoyed her company.
    ‘Alright. About your friend, I think you should make up with her, life is too short to carry heavy weights of anger and hurt on our shoulders. Promise me you’ll make up with her?’
    ‘Okay, I’ll try’ Iman shrugged. She had expected Narissa to call her earlier and apologize for the mean things she had said to her but no call came through. She decided to be the bigger person, she loved Narissa like a sister and wasn’t ready to lose her friendship.
    ‘Goodnight’ he embraced her.
    ‘Night, take good care of you, Obinna’ she whispered to him.
    ‘You too’ he sighed as she walked through the door.
    The night had given birth to morning and the morning had given birth to a bright yellow sun; it was a beautiful Saturday.
    ‘Is that all you do? Gape at a celebrity who doesn’t know you exist?’ Ekene sauntered into the living room.
    ‘I have done my chores; as you can see the house is sparkling, I deserve this’ Asa rolled her eyes and focused her attention on the “Breakfast daily” show.
    ‘Really?’ Ekene joined her in watching the beautiful hostess. His heart thudded against his chest in an odd rhythm, he yearned to have this woman to himself, he yearned to make her his’.
    ‘How about your girlfriend Nkoli? You said she’d visit soon’ Asa asked.
    ‘Of course, she’s on her way here. I can’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday’ he winked.
    ‘So you’re really doing this? Sleeping with the same woman that slept with your elder brother? Have you read the part in the bible where this is considered a taboo?’ Asa turned off the television and focused on him. She had not slept well the night before, so many things ran through her mind, how could Ekene be that callous?
    ‘How dare you!’ He launched her a slap.
    ‘Ekene! Did you just slap me? Obinna has never laid a finger on me’ she cried.
    ‘That’s because he is weak and stupid; my relationship with Nkoli is none of your business, you better stay out of it’ he warned.
    ‘Ekene! You know I am speaking the truth, I will never support your actions’ she replied.
    ‘Then my lovely sister, prepare yourself for more slaps’ he moved near her and planted a kiss on her head.
    ‘You have nothing to worry about Asa, I don’t plan on falling in love. Being with Nkoli is a way to get back at Obinna for the way he insulted me, you have nothing to worry about, I swear’ he explained to her.
    ‘Are you sure about that?’ Asa wiped her face.
    ‘Yes, love. In fact, there’s this woman I have fallen in love with and I will do anything to win her love. You are going to like her very much’ he said.
    ‘Really? Do you have a picture?’ Asa was eager to see this mystery woman.
    ‘Not yet, soon. I am sorry for slapping you, just don’t get on my nerves’ he pulled her close and hugged her.
    ‘Whatever’ she mouthed the words.
    ‘I heard that’ he released her and left the door, the doorbell was ringing.
    Nkolika had no regrets or second thoughts after she had broken up with Obinna; as far as she was concerned, he was an enormous failure and there was no hope of redemption for him.
    Seeing Ekene at  Rosydew had surprised her; he was totally changed, refined, like the rich men she saw on television.
    He was a man that knew what he wanted and was not afraid to go for it. Ekene had told her bluntly that he had been a secret admirer and would love for them to date.
    She had pressed a shaky hand to her chest to be sure of this, she was overjoyed by his proposition. What woman in her right senses would reject Ekene in his glory?
    She needed a man that would quench her material thirst, take her places, buy her all that she wanted and not some ugly broke ass.
    ‘Here you are, you look lovely’ he opened the door and ran his eyes over her body.
    ‘I am glad you like it’ she smiled and stared deeply into his eyes, he was so handsome in the black shirt and blue denim that he wore.
    ‘Come on in, sweetheart’ Ekene led her into the house.
    ‘Wow, is this really your house?’ Her eyes glowed as she took in the richly embellished sitting room.
    ‘Of course darling, everything here belongs to me’ Ekene caressed her head.
    ‘I am so happy to be your girlfriend, I love you so much Ekene’ she hugged him tightly.
    ‘Asa, be a good girl and fetch some drinks from the fridge’ he turned to his sister but she wasn’t there; she had left her room.
    ‘Asa is staying with you?’ Nkoli’s countenance dropped. She never really had a good rapport with Asa, what the hell was she doing here?’  She belonged with her loser older brother, Obinna.
    ‘Yes, have a seat love, let me get you a drink’ he left for the cellar.
    ‘Wow, I have made it in this life. As long as I live, I will never let you go Ekenedichukwu, I will hold you so tightly to me’ she muttered to herself.
    ‘Here darling’ he returned with two glasses and a bottle of red wine.
    ‘Is that Caviel Special?’ she was a waitress in the most exotic hotel and she knew just how much such a wine would cost.

    Episode Ten

    ‘Is that Caviel Special?’ she was a waitress in the most exotic hotel and she knew just how much such a wine would cost.
    ‘Of course darling, anything for you’ he poured the rich red liquid into their glasses.
    The desire for this man she so admired pricked her skin, she needed to play smart, that was the only way to keep a man like Ekene to herself.
    ‘What is it?’ He noticed the way she stared at him.
    ‘I want to show you just how much I love you’ she caressed his face.
    Ekene smiled back but she had failed to see the mocking glare in his eyes. He knew girls like her, they were excessively materialistic and opportunistic. Nkoli was a very beautiful girl, he had interest in her but only for his loins; the woman that suited him was the television hostess and he was going to win her love.
    ‘Excuse me, baby, I need to take this call’ he felt the vibration of the phone in his pocket.
    ‘No Wahala, you’re free’ she poured herself more wine and begun to fiddle with her buttons.
    He moved away from her slightly, Ife was calling. He was sure it was about work, Methocorp was a bottling company, he had been put in charge of a department. He guessed Ife had been to the office and had not seen him; that was the reason for the call. He planned to leave for work later in the day, weekends weren’t that free for his department.
    ‘My man, how are you doing?’ Ekene was the first to speak.
    ‘I am fine. You sound excited, why do I have a feeling you are about to have sex?’ Ife asked.
    ‘Bad you’ Ekene laughed and stared at Nkoli, she was already horny, he could see it from the way she stared at him.
    ‘I got what you asked for’ Ife said flatly.
    ‘What?’ Ekene asked.
    ‘I recorded our love making dummy, check your mailbox, you’d see an attachment, just listen to it’ Ife replied.
    ‘Seriously? I’ll check it out. How are you holding up?’
    ‘Nothing many men, my old man invited me home, claims he is ill but I have a funny feeling he wants something from me’ Ife said.
    ‘Good then. I’ll be at work later’ Ekene assured him.
    ‘Great bro, just do your job’ Ife replied and ended the call.
    ‘Who was that honey?’ Nkoli couldn’t hold it in anymore.
    ‘My boss’ Ekene swirled around and faced her.
    ‘Your boss?’ Her voice was low and seductive.
    ‘Yes,’ he nodded.
    She grabbed his rod firmly and pulled him in for a kiss.
    Narissa had returned to her apartment after her dinner date with Ife; his lovemaking had taken away all her worries and fears, it seemed he was really into her contrary to her friend’s opinion.
    The song of the morning birds, the dancing of the wind as it lifted her curtains and the streams of yellow sunlight tickled her sleep and woke her up.
    ‘It’s morning already’ she yawned and rolled out of bed.
    A smile curled on her luscious lips as she fetched her phone ‘How romantic’ she rubbed her chin with her finger. Ife had just sent her a message, he was proud to have her as his girlfriend and said she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
    ‘I think I love you’ she took a deep breath and parted the curtains, it seemed someone was in her driveway, she needed to be sure.
    ‘Edna’ a frown wrinkled her face as she rushed through her living room to the drive way.
    ‘What the hell are you doing at my house?’ She fired at her step mother.
    ‘That’s a rude way to speak to an older person and a bad way to start a beautiful Saturday morning’ Edna leaned against her car.
    She was a brown skinned petite middle-aged lady and she had come to speak with her step child.
    ‘What do you want Edna? You called me last night and told me some shit, now you’re here in person? This is harassment and I am going to call the police if you don’t leave this minute’ Narissa warned.
    ‘Just like her mother, Spitfire’ Edna murmured.
    ‘What did you just say? You have no right to talk about my mother, you sick woman!!’ Narissa’s voice was broken.
    ‘I agree that I have not been the best step mother in the world but you can’t blame me; you never liked me for your father, you felt he was too good for me when the opposite was actually the reality’ Edna rolled her eyes.
    ‘You’re so full of yourself’ Narissa hissed angrily.
    ‘Alright, I am sorry I have not been nice to you but we can work on our relationship’ Edna moved close to her.
    ‘Just stop there, don’t come any closer. Why are you here? Tell me’ Narissa blocked her from moving any closer.
    ‘Your father is very ill and would want to see you, I already explained this last night. He demands your presence right now’ Edna said.
    ‘Father? What’s wrong with my father? What did you do to him?’ Fear filled Narissa, she had already lost her mother to cancer, she couldn’t lose her dad too.
    ‘He is better now but you must come see him today, the doctors are attending to him. If you aren’t busy, you can join me now or you come to the house in the next two hours’ Edna said.
    ‘Really? I have a session at the studio, please send my greetings, I will be there once I’m done’ Narissa felt weak as she imagined her father in pain.
    ‘One more thing, have you thought about the marriage proposal?’ Edna asked.
    ‘I believe you have overstayed your welcome, you can leave now’ Narissa walked away without so much as a goodbye.
    ‘Rude little girl, you’ll play right into my hands.’ Edna’s laugh was drenched in mischief.
    As she was about leaving, she noticed another car driving into Narissa’s drive way, did she have a boyfriend? She realized she knew nothing much about her step child, she decided to wait and engage whoever had come looking for her. If it were a man, she would poison his mind against Narissa, all she needed was a wealthy suitor for her step child, one she would benefit from.
    ‘Do you mind getting out of the driveway’? Iman wondered who the visitor was. She had never seen that car before, maybe Ife had changed his car.
    ‘Rude little girls everywhere’ Edna’s eyes fell on the slender brown skinned girl.
    ‘I am sorry madam, I didn’t mean to sound rude but you were blocking me’ Iman jumped down from the jeep and apologized.

    Episode Eleven

    ‘I am sorry madam, I didn’t mean to sound rude but you were blocking me’ Iman jumped down from the jeep and apologized
    ‘It’s okay, I am Edna, Narissa’s mother’ she introduced.
    ‘Oh, Edna?’ Iman’s eyes strayed to Narissa’s house and she noticed her friend had been watching her from a window.
    ‘Yes, who are you to Narissa?’ Edna inquired.
    ‘A friend. Her best friend’ Iman was unsure of herself as she avoided Narissa’s angry face.
    ‘I see. What’s your name?’
    ‘Iman. Iman Abdullahi’ she said.
    ‘Sounds familiar, pleasure to meet you’ she patted the young woman’s shoulder and slid into her car.
    ‘Wow, Edna the witch’ Iman released the breath she had been holding, Narissa had always spoken of her step mother but she had never met the woman in person.
    ‘What the hell were you discussing with that witch?’ Narissa trotted towards her in her night wear.
    ‘Hey slow down, tiger’ Iman moved back.
    ‘She just asked for my name and what business I have with you which I told her. Why are you so worked up this morning?’ Iman had never seen her friend this way.
    ‘Nothing. I just hate her so much, she manipulates my dad’ Narissa sighed and folded her hands across her chest.
    ‘Fine’ Narissa eyed her friend suspiciously.
    ‘I am sorry about the things I said concerning Ife; I have no right to interfere in your relationship, I swear I will never do it again. I promise to be a good friend and support whatever relationship choices you make, I won’t overstep my boundaries’ she begged Narissa.
    ‘I felt really bad you would judge Ife that harshly, you hardly know him. Deep down I feel it, he is a nice person’ Narissa replied.
    ‘So have you forgiven me?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Sure, we are friends again. I am sorry for saying those mean things to you too, I was angry’ Narissa equally apologized.
    ‘Thanks, Narissa’ Iman drew her in for a hug.
    ‘You seem very excited this morning, what happened?’ Narissa raised a brow.
    ‘Nothing, I am just happy we are good’ Iman lied. She couldn’t deny it, there’s a way she had been feeling since Obinna made love to her.
    ‘Iman? You’re a terrible liar and we both know that tell me’ Narissa could feel she was hiding something.
    ‘Um, remember the guy at the shopping mall? The one that brought apples to my car’ Iman said.
    ‘Yes, yes I do’ Narissa nodded, she remembered the guy well, Ife had embarrassed him.
    ‘I went over to his place last night and we had sex. He is excellent in bed’ Iman blurted out.
    ‘What!’ Narissa tried to steady herself. This was the same guy who had ignored her, he wasn’t even moved by her beauty and he had shagged her friend?
    ‘Yes, I swear, I came so many times’ Iman beamed with smiles.
    ‘I am disappointed in you Iman’ Narissa bit her lip.
    ‘Disappointed? I don’t understand’ Iman was startled at Narissa’s reaction.
    ‘He is a sales boy’ Narissa shifted uncomfortably.
    ‘Sales boy? He has a name’ Iman was surprised her friend would react that way.
    ‘Well, he is below your standard, you should roll with people in your class’ Narissa replied.
    ‘You were not like this before’ Iman knew her friend well, Narissa was not the kind of person to look down on others; Ife was influencing her.
    ‘How different?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘You never look down on people and just so you know, this guy isn’t a nobody, there’s something special about him. I will appreciate if you accord him more respect in future’ Iman said.
    ‘Look at you getting all so defensive; did he ask you out? Why would you sleep with him so easily?’ Narissa scoffed.
    She had a one night stand with Ife but Ife was her boyfriend and was worth the risk.
    ‘Okay,’ Iman took a deep breath. She decided from then to keep her personal life to herself; she had never expected this kind of cruel judgment from Narissa.
    ‘So why was Edna here?’ She swiftly changed the topic.
    ‘She told me my father was ill, I need to see him soon’ Narissa answered.
    ‘Good decision, maybe I could come along with you’ Iman was concerned.
    ‘Thanks, Iman, you’re the best friend in the world’ Narissa smiled.

    Episode Twelve

    ‘Thanks, Iman, you’re the best friend in the world’ Narissa smiled.
    The weekend was a boring one for Obinna as he tossed and turned uncomfortably on his bed. Usually, when Asa was still with him, they’d go out for a walk or play scrabble but there was none of that now.
    He thought about what had transpired between himself and Iman; they both had not planned for it, it just happened and it felt so good. He felt like calling her, felt like talking to someone but he decided against it, he didn’t want to become a bug.
    He felt peace as he thought about her; while he was having a bad day, she had shown up and lightened his whole world. He wondered what she had seen in him. There was nothing special about him, yet she had made him feel valuable.
    He had not bothered calling his sister, he believed she was in good hands. Ekene was rough but he was equally protective. His thoughts ran their course in his head until the ringing of his phone brought them to a halt, maybe Iman was calling.
    ‘Ekene’ he muttered his brother’s name, he had sent him an email. Obinna clicked on the attachment, what did he want now?
    His hands shook as he stared at the picture of an unclad Nkoli lying next to Ekene on the same bed.
    ‘How could you do this to me?’ Obinna’s hands shook as he stared at the picture. So Nkoli had actually dumped him for his brother? Had they been cheating on him while he was in a relationship with her?
    His eyes brimmed with tears; Ekene was heartless, his brother had clearly shown raw hatred for him.
    ‘I am not a failure’ he whispered to himself and rose to his feet. Pacing the room did not get the image out of his head; he decided to call Iman, maybe meeting up with her could distract him from what he had just seen.
    ‘Pick up, pick up’ her number wasn’t going through. He slipped on a shirt and decided to leave the house, strolling would do the magic, it’d rid him of depression and loneliness.
    His heart raced swiftly, his breath was rapid, the pain of betrayal was worse than death itself.
    He had not walked far from the house when he felt a sharp pain in his legs and he fell to the ground.
    ‘Oh my God’ a young man shouted and rushed out of a blue Hummer Jeep.
    ‘Iman, Iman’ those were the last words Obinna spoke before he collapsed as the pain was too much to bear.
    Ife was an industrious young man, he was rich and he loved to be free. A frown twisted his handsome face into something macabre as he joined his father in the car.
    ‘I am doing this for you son, it’s time for you to settle down. It is my job to find you a good wife and that’s exactly what I am doing’ Engineer Martins stared at his only son.
    ‘First, you tricked me into coming home with you; now this? This is the modern world dad, parents no longer arrange partners for their kids. I can’t believe I am sitting next to you in this car’ Ife complained.
    ‘Son, don’t worry, you’ll get to meet this girl soon, she’ll make an excellent wife and she is very beautiful’ the older man smiled.
    ‘And you know this how?’ Ife rolled his eyes.
    ‘Her father was my very good friend back in the day, we were college mates’ he answered.
    ‘Well, I am only following you to this girl’s house out of respect but I assure you, the choice is mine to make. You cannot force me to get married’ Ife spoke his mind.
    He wasn’t ready to be tied down by any woman; he loved to hang out with different women, have sex, party and all that. Marriage wasn’t a subject to be considered in the nearest future.
    ‘Okay, the choice will be yours to make but I know you’ll like her’ his father was very sure.
    They fell silent for a while, Ife thought about the recording he’d sent to Ekene, his sexual encounter with the pretty celebrity. Narissa had boosted his ego, if Narissa, a T.V personality couldn’t resist him, no other woman could. Now that he had won the bet, he decided it was time to get rid of Narissa, he would break up with her soon.
    ‘Here we are, make sure you are polite’ his father advised as he drove into the compound.
    ‘I am not a kid’ Ife murmured.
    ‘Who do we have here? Engineer Martins and his son, you’re most welcome’ a middle-aged woman received them.
    ‘Ife, this is your mother-in-law’ his father did introductions.
    ‘Pleased to meet you ma’ Ife offered the woman a polite smile.
    ‘Is that Martins the great?’ A man joined them, Ife knew instantly that this was his father’s friend.
    ‘Come here old man’ his father laughed.
    Ife watched the man closely, there was something oddly familiar about him especially his eyes. Maybe his vision was blurred but his eyes resembled Narissa’s.
    After her studio session, she left with Iman to see her father; she prayed silently that no harm would come to him.
    ‘So what if you actually like this guy your parents have arranged for you?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Hell no, I have feelings for Ife and no man can take his place for now’ Narissa shook her head.
    ‘Really? Has he ever discussed marriage with you?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Not really, has the Obinna guy called you since?’ Narissa felt uncomfortable discussing Ife with Iman.
    ‘No’ Iman replied. She had not regretted what had transpired between her and Ife, but the way her friend stared at her made her bothered.
    ‘You shouldn’t have slept with him, he apparently thought you cheap, that’s why he hasn’t called. A guy is supposed to call after the sex or at least text or visit to show that’s not all he came for.’ Narissa explained. Her experience with Ife had shown her that he truly cared.
    ‘Must you keep reminding me of what I did? I only told you because I didn’t expect you to be this judgmental.’ Iman had to be honest.
    ‘Judgmental? No, I am only speaking the truth, I don’t want you to nurse feelings for this lowlife and get yourself hurt in the process’ Narissa shrugged.
    ‘Wait, are you doing this because I tried to interfere in your relationship with Ife?’Iman was getting irritated.
    ‘No, Ife is a perfect gentleman, I can’t say the same for your one-night stand Romeo who has probably moved on’ Narissa gritted her teeth.
    Iman felt deeply hurt, Narissa was clearly mocking her; she decided to let it die. She had not checked her phone since morning, maybe Obinna had sent her a text or something; she pulled it quickly from her purse.
    ‘Here we are’ Narissa drove into the compound.
    ‘Stop the car Narissa, stop the car’ Iman’s heart raced as she read the text message.
    ‘What happened?’ Narissa arched a brow.
    ‘My phone has been in silent mode, Obinna had called me three times’ tears welled up in her eyes as she read the text.
    ‘Is that why you are crying?’ Narissa wondered.
    ‘A strange number called me seventeen times then sent this text, he had an accident and needs surgery urgently’ she showed the text to her friend.
    ‘How is that your business? Surely he can sort himself out. What if he is a criminal and somehow knows about your rich background? What if this is a trap?’ Narissa suggested.
    ‘No, I know this hospital, it is a teaching hospital. This is real Narissa, I have to go see him. He has no one.’ Iman fetched her bag.

    Episode Thirteen

    ‘No, I know this hospital, it is a teaching hospital. This is real Narissa, I have to go see him. He has no one.’ Iman fetched her bag.
    ‘I hope you know what you’re doing’ Narissa warned.
    ‘I have never felt this sure of something my entire life, I’m following my heart’ she rushed out of the compound.
    ‘Sales boy and low life, maybe he used juju on my friend.’ Narissa rolled her eyes and stepped down from the car.
    She spotted a strange car in the compound. Edna had told her that her father was ill, was he now allowed to have visitors? Or did the car belong to the doctors?
    As she neared the entrance of the house, she heard voices; of laughter and gossip; that made her wonder, had her father really been ill or Edna had lured her into a trap? She almost turned back but she decided to see things for herself.
    ‘Well well, here comes my beautiful daughter Ife, you’re going to like her very much’ her father’s eyes glowed with pride as she stepped into the living room.
    ‘Ife?’ Narissa’s eyes widened.
    ‘Narissa?’ He dropped the wine glass he held.
    ‘It seems you two already know each other, getting married wouldn’t be a problem then’ Edna smiled.
    ‘Is this the woman I am to marry?’ Ife whispered into his father’s ears. The old man answered with a nod.
    ‘That isn’t happening’ Ife added and stormed out of the house.
    ‘Ife? Where are you going?’ Narissa noticed the scowl on his face.
    ‘Can we speak outside for a moment’? he asked.
    ‘Sure’ she still didn’t understand the reason for his fury.
    ‘Take all the time you need’ Edna called after them.
    ‘Did you know about this arrangement?’ He asked as they both stepped outside.
    ‘What arrangement?’ She was confused.
    ‘Oh come off it! Don’t play dumb, did you know we were to get married?’
    ‘No, I am as surprised as you’ Narissa didn’t like his tone.
    ‘Well, we are obviously not interested in each other, we aren’t in love and we can never get married. Let’s go back in there and say it to their faces, there’s no point playing nice’ he seethed in anger.
    ‘I don’t understand’ Narissa swallowed the lump of pain and uncertainty that clogged her throat.
    ‘What don’t you understand Narissa?’ He asked.
    ‘I love you Ife and I would want to marry you’ the words rushed out of her mouth.
    ‘Love? We had sex Narissa, we both enjoyed it, there’s no shame in that but love wasn’t what I expected’ he shook his head and walked away from her.
    ‘Ife? Where are you going?’ Her head swirled in a circular motion, maybe she had not heard him well.
    He didn’t answer; he kept walking till the gate closed behind him.
    ‘No’ her lips shook and a tear slipped from her eyes.
    After they had both taken their bath, she snuggled close to him but she noticed he was busy with his phone.
    ‘What are you doing’? She asked.
    ‘Uhm, something came up Nkoli, I really need to go now’ Ekene rose to his feet. Ife had texted asking him to come over to his place.
    ‘Really? How long will you be gone? I can prepare you something’ she straightened.
    ‘Maybe an hour or two, see you later honey’ he pecked her lightly and hurried out of the house. He had sent a picture of him and Nkoli in bed to his brother and he was quite sure Obinna had received the message.
    ‘Where are you going?’ Asa blocked him.
    ‘To see a friend’ he replied.
    ‘And what about her? What is she still doing here?’ Asa asked after Nkoli.
    ‘Staying, I told you I want nothing to do with her, it’s just for pleasure, now be nice’ he rubbed her head and stepped out of the house.
    ‘Be nice’ Asa repeated. How could she be nice to someone as callous as Nkoli? She deserved no kindness for breaking Obinna’s heart and moving on to his brother.
    Now she thought of Obinna, she felt slightly guilty for the things she had said to him; she knew he was protecting her from Ekene’s dark side but as it turned out, Ekene’s hands were clean.
    She fetched her phone and quickly dialed Obinna’s number.
    ‘Pick up, pick up’ she paced the room eagerly but there was no answer.
    ‘Hey’ Nkoli had fully dressed up.
    ‘Are you talking to me?’ Asa turned at the sound of her voice.
    ‘Of course, go into the kitchen and prepare me something nice, I have a thing for pepper so make sure whatever you’re going to cook spicy’ Nkoli gave out an order.
    Asa said nothing, she simply laughed till her insides ached.
    ‘You are a comedienne Nkoli, you know that, right? You’re even better than Chigurl, Eniola Badmus, Helen Paul all put together’ she continued laughing.
    ‘Really? Well, let’s see how funny I’ll be after I call you brother and tell him about your insolence’ she threatened.
    ‘Ekene? You’re a bigger fool than I thought. If I were you, I would go in, pack my bags and never return. He only slept with you to hurt Obinna and not because you are special to him, get that’ Asa rolled her eyes.
    ‘Liar, you’re just jealous your brother likes me’ she wouldn’t believe a word from Asa.
    ‘If you say so’ Asa shrugged and resumed dialing her brother’s number. It was strange, Obinna rarely missed his calls.
    ‘You’ll regret this, I promise you’ Nkoli pushed past her and walked towards the kitchen.
    Asa ignored her, her thoughts were on Obinna, was he okay? What if something bad had happened to him?
    ‘I have to go see him’ she needed to check up on her brother.
    Iman easily located the hospital where he was admitted; it wasn’t so hidden.
    ‘Hi, please I am looking for an accident victim, his name is Obinna’ she rushed to meet a nurse.
    ‘Obinna what?’ The woman needed a surname.
    ‘Excuse me, are you Miss Iman?’ A young boy approached them.
    ‘Yes, yes’ Iman turned to the boy as the nurse walked away.
    ‘I am so sorry I hit your friend, it was a terrible mistake. It was my first time of driving, I swear I didn’t do this intentionally’ the boy cried.
    ‘Hey, this isn’t time for regrets, where is he? How bad is his condition?’ Iman asked.
    ‘It isn’t critical, just an ankle sprain but the doctor insists he would spend two days here so he’d undergo further check up for internal bleeding’ the young man replied.
    ‘How were you able to reach me?’ Iman inquired.
    ‘He kept calling your name after I hit him so I quickly checked his phone and found your number’ he explained and her heart fluttered. So he thought about her too
    ‘Very well then, can I see him now?’
    ‘Sure, let’s go together’ he took the lead and she followed.
    ‘Obinna’ tears welled up in her eyes as she stepped into the room. He seemed so pale and weak; his skin looked dusty, had he lost blood?
    She looked at the young man suspiciously; he had told her the accident wasn’t serious, had he told her a lie?
    ‘Iman!’ Obinna smiled on sighting her.
    ‘You’re so pale, are you alright? I am sorry I didn’t take your calls, my phone had been in silent mode’ she explained with tears rolling down her cheeks.
    ‘Baby, you don’t need to cry, I am alright now’ his hands went to her face. Iman was truly an angel, the moment she had appeared, his pain seemed to fade, his fears subsided.
    ‘So, how are you feeling? Do you need anything? Just say the word’ she towered above him.
    ‘He already took care of the bills, I am just hungry’ Obinna yawned.
    ‘I could get you some snacks from the canteen’ the young man offered.
    ‘No. Thank you, you have done enough already. You can go now’ Iman dismissed him.

    Episode Fourteen

    ‘No. Thank you, you have done enough already. You can go now’ Iman dismissed him.
    ‘I am sorry once again, get well soon sir’ he waved and stepped out of the room.
    ‘What really happened? Tell me everything’ she smoothened his hair.
    ‘I was just lonely and bored, I called you, you weren’t picking, so I took a stroll’ he paused.
    ‘And then you got hit’ she completed.
    ‘Yes,’ he nodded and squeezed her hands.
    ‘Can I go to your house? I could prepare something for you hurriedly and bring some clothes and toiletries’? She asked.
    ‘Yes, I would like that, I need homemade food’ he winked and she laughed; her laughter resonated in his ears like good music.
    ‘Here’s my key’ he dipped a hand into his pocket.
    ‘Stay put darling, I’ll be back in an hour’ she kissed him and hurried out of the room.
    ‘Iman’ he drawled her name; what exactly was he doing? What were they doing?
    Such a woman could never love somebody like him, maybe she was just being nice or maybe he was reading too much into the situation. He thought about Ekene and decided that the best payback was to ignore him totally.
    His feelings for Nkoli were totally gone; he had let her go as his heart yearned for another.
    Ekene thought about Narissa the woman he wanted for himself; he came to the assumption that his friend was a fool for playing with such a woman. She was a rare beauty, she was classy and super intelligent.
    How stupid Ife was, Ekene thought as he approached his friend’s house. He would play a fast one on Ife. First, he would find a way to meet Narissa and declare his intentions. If it came to playing dirty just to get her, he was willing to get his hands into the dirt.
    ‘You look like shit, what happened?’ Ekene had never seen Ife in this state. His tie hung loosely around his neck and his hair was disheveled. He held a bottle of wine in a hand and a glass in another.
    ‘Did you get a girl pregnant?’ He tried to lighten the mood.
    ‘Or you tested positive for HIV?’ He continued.
    ‘My father set me up, he wasn’t ill, he wants me to get married’ Ife took the glass to his lips.
    ‘Wow, congratulations, getting married isn’t such a bad thing, you know’ Ekene settled in a chair.
    ‘It’s a bad thing when I am not ready to give up my bachelorhood, don’t you see?’ He yanked the tie off his neck.
    ‘So your father arranged a woman for you… Who does that these days? Seems like the man is stuck in the stone age’ Ekene sneered.
    ‘He wants me to marry Narissa’ Ife stated coldly.
    ‘Narissa? As in the television personality?’ Ekene was anxious.
    ‘Yes, the very same’ Ife replied.
    ‘So what are your plans?’ Ekene asked.
    ‘I can’t marry her, I don’t love her. I only used her to prove a point: I can get any woman to sleep with me’ Ife replied.
    ‘Good. Just forget about her, tell your father you aren’t interested’ Ekene advised, he needed to pave way for his own interests.
    ‘Enough of women, let’s talk about work’ Ife poured himself more wine.
    ‘How are you handling the new product from Russia?’ Ife inquired. ‘We need to distribute it to club and hotel owners, it’s on high demand within those circles.’
    ‘Trust me, I have already put people on the job, there’s no need to fear’ Ekene reassured him.
    ‘Looks like someone is at the gate’ he listened carefully.
    ‘Must be my dad, let me go and check it out’ Ife left for the gate. He pressed the remote and it parted, Narissa was the visitor.
    She couldn’t bear the pain of the things Ife had said to her; maybe she had not heard him well or maybe he was drunk. She would never know till she found out; that was why she followed him to his house.
    ‘What are you doing here?’ Ife asked.
    ‘Ife, are you really going to leave me? Why did you make love to me if you knew you would leave me hanging in the rain. How could you be so wicked?’ Tears streamed down her cheeks as she spoke.
    ‘Hey, I never forced you to sleep with me so don’t use that line on me, okay? We both enjoyed it. Don’t play the victim card here, it’s not going to work’ he fired at her.
    ‘I can’t believe this; I can’t believe I was so blinded by your charms. If only I had listened to Iman, I wouldn’t be here’ she cried.
    Right before her eyes, the curtains that shielded her from his true nature were torn apart. Before her stood Lucifer in human form.
    ‘What’s going on here?’ Ekene joined them.
    ‘I told her to leave me alone, I don’t know what she is still doing here’ Ife hissed and walked away.
    ‘You’ll regret this Ife! I promise you, you’ll regret it’ she yelled.
    ‘Hey, I am sorry for what my friend did to you; he is such a callous person. Please forgive him’ Ekene stepped in and played the good guy card.
    ‘How can I ever forgive him?’ Narissa whispered.
    ‘Come here darling, I feel your pain’ Ekene hugged her. She was too broken to resist the stranger’s hug, she just sobbed on his shoulders.
    Asa had arrived Obinna’s apartment but he wasn’t there; the doors were locked, maybe he’d left for work. She shrugged and decided to go look for him at the shopping mall where he worked.
    She took a last glance at the house before she walked away; that was the house where she lived with her brother, special memories clung to the building. She suddenly felt empty as she thought about returning to Ekene’s place.
    Though his mansion was exotic and had all things in place for maximum luxury, it still felt empty and lonely back there.
    As she stepped out of the gate that enclosed the house, she found a car parked right in front of her. A slender brown skin woman stepped down from it.
    ‘God afternoon’ Asa paused and wondered why she’d come. Had Obinna moved out?
    ‘Afternoon’ the lady replied.
    ‘Are you looking for someone?’ Asa asked.
    ‘Not really, I’m running errands’ the brown skinned lady walked past her and headed to the house.
    ‘Wow, what a response’ Asa turned round and followed her, she needed explanations.
    Iman had noticed a strong semblance between the girl and Obinna, could that be his sister? Or was she a girlfriend? A feeling of jealousy itched her skin and it scared her. Narissa had been right, sleeping with Obinna had been a mistake, what if he wasn’t whom he said he was?
    ‘You don’t just walk into people’s houses without explanation’ Asa followed her closely.
    ‘Who are you please?’ Iman faced the young girl.
    ‘Asa, Asamma, this is my brother’s house. Who are you?’
    Iman rolled her eyes, the girl seemed so protective of Obinna but she wasn’t pleased. Where was she when her brother needed someone to talk to?
    ‘I am friends with your brother, okay? He sent me to bring his things and cook him a decent meal’ Iman explained patiently.
    ‘Oh, I am sorry for attacking  you like that, where is Obinna?’ Asa fiddled with her hands.
    ‘In the hospital’ Iman replied flatly and inserted a key into the keyhole, the door flung wide open.
    ‘Hospital? Please, what happened to him?’ A feeling of fear crept to her neck.
    ‘An accident. It’s not serious, he’ll be discharged in a few days’ Iman quickly added as she saw the shock written all over Asa’s face.
    ‘This is entirely my fault, will he ever forgive me?’ Tears poured down her face.

    Episode Fifteen

    ‘This is entirely my fault, will he ever forgive me?’ Tears poured down her face.
    ‘Hey, calm down, he told me everything. You made a mistake but if you are truly sorry, you can show him yourself’ Iman felt sorry for the girl.
    ‘I called him a failure, I chose Ekene over him’ she sobbed.
    ‘Who is Ekene?’ Iman asked.
    ‘My other brother. For many years, Obinna had been the provider; he worked so hard so we could survive; I never appreciated his efforts. I am such an ingrate’ she continued sobbing.
    ‘Asa, crying won’t solve any problem, get up and pack some of his clothes and toiletries, he told me he was very hungry; what should I prepare for him? What does he like?’ Iman asked.
    Asa wiped her face with the back of her hand, it seemed her brother had gotten himself a new girlfriend; the thought brought a smile to her face ‘Are you two dating?’
    ‘No, why?’ Iman chuckled.
    ‘You look perfect for him’ Asa smiled.
    ‘Thank you, we are just friends and we are keeping it that way. So tell me, what does he like?’ Iman changed the subject.
    ‘Jollof rice with beef, Ofe Onugbu and Fufu, Porridge yam…’ She began to list all the foods Obinna favored.
    ‘Slow down tiger,’ Iman interrupted her, ‘I’ll go for the Jollof rice, luckily I bought some meat on my way here’
    ‘Nice. What’s your name?’ Asa already liked this lady.
    ‘Nice name, let me get his clothes ready’ Asa left to check Obinna’s box. She stared after Iman as she walked towards the kitchen; the lady was the opposite of Nkoli. She prayed her brother fell for this kind of woman, she seemed very caring.
    Narissa temporarily got Ife out of her mind as his friend Ekene drove her to a park; he had collected her car keys and offered to drive. The park was a green field surrounded by a clean pond with swans resting on it. It was peaceful, calm and beautiful, just the kind of place she needed to be.
    ‘My sister talks about you every day, Asa is your number one fan’ Ekene said as he held her slender fingers.
    ‘Wow, I didn’t know I was that popular’ Narissa’s cute face broke into a smile as she listened to Ife’s friend.
    ‘Of course, you are. You’re such a beautiful person, very intelligent and elegant. It’s a pity Ife couldn’t see that he is a very ungrateful person’ Ekene released her hands; he noticed her discomfort as she mentioned Ife.
    ‘It’s okay, I’ll get over him. I always get over pain’ Narissa took a deep breath and focused her eyes on the pond. She had learnt another big lesson, never tie your happiness to anything or anyone, people always leave. Some died, some fell ill and others never came back. Most importantly, it was good to listen to friends sometimes.
    ‘I have to go now Ekene, I would be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy the time we spent together’ Narissa rose to her feet.
    ‘Sure, where are you headed’? Ekene asked.
    ‘Not sure, maybe the studio’ she avoided his piercing gaze. She wasn’t like this on a normal day, she rarely spoke to strangers but grief had a way of changing people’s values and character. She had been broken and hurt, that was why she had opened up to Ekene, but that was the end of it.
    ‘When will I see you again’? He asked.
    ‘Um, not sure. I am a very busy person, Ekene’ she shrugged not liking the look on his face.
    ‘Okay then, May I have your number? Just to check up on you’ he offered her his phone.
    ‘Okay, that won’t be a problem’ she typed in her phone number and trotted towards her car. She thought about Iman and her friend Obinna, she hoped he wasn’t too hurt.
    ‘Bye Narissa’ he waved as she drove past him.
    He decided to call Asa and inform her about his meeting with her celebrity crush.
    ‘So what did Obinna study at the University?’ Iman was learning new things about him. She had known from the start that he wasn’t an ordinary salesman, he was far too polished and refined for the job.
    ‘Business Management’ Asa replied and pulled out her buzzing phone from her little purse; Ekene was calling.
    ‘Excuse me’ she whispered to Iman and pressed the phone to her ears.
    ‘Good afternoon Ekene’ she said.
    ‘Afternoon darling, guess what?’
    ‘I don’t have time for guessing games, something happened to Obinna’ she informed his straight away.
    ‘Obinna? What business do you have with that idiot?’ She could sense the anger in his voice and it surprised her.
    ‘He is our brother Ekene! He just had an accident and I am headed for the hospital’ she replied him.
    ‘Where are you?’ He asked coolly.
    ‘In a car with his friend, we’re going to the teaching hospital’ she said.
    ‘Good. Now, tell his friend to stop the car, alight and come home’ he ordered.
    ‘Seriously? I cannot do that. It’s bad enough we both abandoned him when he needed us most, I will not leave him a second time, you hear me?’ Asa rolled her eyes in shock. Ekene’s attitude towards Obinna scared her, it resembled hatred but she chose to overlook it.
    ‘I am giving you twenty minutes, if you fail to comply, don’t come back here’ he threatened.
    ‘Is that a threat?’ Her head swooned, maybe she had not heard him well.
    ‘Call it whatever, I mean every word’ he replied.
    ‘Good. I am not coming back there. I’ll come for my clothes later, I would be staying with Obinna from now on’ she felt free as she called his bluff.
    ‘You would always be as stupid and weak as he is. Good luck’ he cut the call.
    ‘Shit’ Asa muttered. Why hadn’t she seen this side of Ekene before moving in with him? Obinna had never spoken to her that way neither had he ever threatened to throw her out.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Iman had listened to her own side of the conversation.
    ‘I will be, once Obinna forgives me’ she replied.
    ‘Let’s listen to the radio; it helps’ Iman turned on the car radio and increased her speed.
    ‘Did you hear that?’ Asa held her breath; that was Narissa, her show had been put on hold for the next six months.
    ‘Are you kidding me? What’s wrong with this girl?’ Iman was equally shocked to hear the news.
    ‘You watch her show too? I love her very much, she’s my role model’ Asa beamed.
    ‘Girl, I don’t just watch her, Narissa is my best friend’ Iman said.
    ‘Really? I can’t believe this!’ Asa’s eyes widened in shock.
    ‘Yes, once we’ve seen your brother, I will call her. She did not tell me about this development’ Iman was surprised. Narissa rarely kept secrets from her, she had to get to the bottom of this.
    He removed the phone from his ear and stared at it, had Asa been drinking? Why would she choose to stay with that loser instead of him?
    ‘Darling, you are back’ Nkoli drawled sweetly and walked towards him.
    ‘Wasn’t I supposed to return?’ A frown narrowed his brows.
    ‘Oh, somebody is in a bad mood’ she immediately knew it wasn’t the perfect time to report Asa to her elder bro.
    ‘What are you still doing here anyway?’ Ekene snapped at her. Nkoli had already served her purpose and that was to hurt Obinna; he was done with her.
    ‘I don’t understand. What kind of question is that?’ She swallowed and moved away from him.
    ‘You only accepted to date me because of my money and not because you actually liked me. I’ll give you money, I will transfer it to your account. You may leave now’ he said.

    Episode Sixteen

    You only accepted to date me because of my money and not because you actually liked me. I’ll give you money, I will transfer it to your account. You may leave now’ he said.
    ‘You are joking, right? Do you think you can use me and dump me like I am some toy? Like I am cheap goods?’ She rolled her eyes, Ekene was probably joking.
    ‘Of course, you are a cheap goods. You are a damaged goods actually. What kind of woman sleeps with two brothers? You are an abomination Nkoli, it’s better you leave honorably or I’ll chase you out like the whore that you are’ he warned.
    ‘You’re despicable! Obinna would never treat me like this’ pain tore her heart into bits; it felt like a dream, only that it wasn’t. She stood staring Lucifer in the eye.
    ‘Thank you, you may leave now’ Ekene announced and left for his room. Now he had gotten Narissa’s number, he needed to work out a plan that would endear her to him.
    ‘I will leave Ekene but I swear you haven’t seen the last of me!’
    ‘Whatever! That’s what bitches say when they have been outsmarted’ he laughed and walked away from her.
    He had fallen asleep right after Iman left; he dreamt of nothing else but her angelic face and her pretty smile; she was simply flawless.
    The creaking of the door woke him up and his eyes rushed to take in the visitor. A sharp pain pierced his chest as he stared into his sister’s eyes, what was she doing here? Memories of her harsh words and rejection came to his mind.
    ‘Obinna’ Asa rushed and flung her arms around him.
    ‘What are you doing here?’ He didn’t return the hug.
    ‘I am so sorry Obinna, I got carried away with material things and I failed to acknowledge the most important thing, family’ she wept on his shoulders.
    ‘I loved you so much, I worked my ass off just to put food on the table and what did you do?’ His voice cracked as he recalled the day he had returned to an empty house’
    ‘I am sorry. I am back now, I promise to stay by your side always’ she apologized.
    ‘It’s okay, you are my sister and I forgive you’ he wrapped her in his arms.
    Iman had watched the show of affection with great admiration for Obinna; he was so mature and loving. She had been so carried away that she didn’t notice her phone had been ringing.
    ‘Excuse me guys, let me take this’ she moved to the far end of the large room to take her call.
    ‘Who is she to you?’ Asa winked once Iman was out of the way.
    ‘A friend’ Obinna replied and stared at the angel that had rescued me.
    ‘A friend? Looks like she loves you, I saw the way her eyes glowed when we spoke about you’ Asa filled him in.
    ‘You guys  gossiped about me?’ He chuckled.
    ‘Sure, she likes you Obinna and I like her too. She’s better than that stupid Nkoli’ Asa blurted out but regretted her words immediately. She saw a flash of pain in his eyes.
    ‘It’s okay, I have gotten over her, just that…’ He paused, was it right to tell Asa what Ekene had done?
    ‘Where is Ekene?’ Obinna asked.
    ‘Um, he was busy when I left’ she avoided his eyes. How could she tell Obinna the truth about her other brother? How could she tell him about Ekene’s involvement with Nkoli?
    ‘You don’t have to lie, I understand. I am glad you and I are now on the same page’ he replied.
    ‘Thank you’ she leaned on his shoulder.
    ‘Guess what Obinna?’ she couldn’t wait to tell him about Narissa.
    ‘Yes?’ He waited for her to continue.
    ‘Iman told me that she’s Narissa’s best friend, is it true?’ Asa was eager for an answer.
    ‘Yes, I saw your role model the first time I met Iman’ Obinna laughed. His sister seemed so excited.
    ‘I am going to meet her, right?’ Asa jumped to her feet.
    ‘Sure but not today, she is not really feeling well’ Iman joined them. Her heart broke as she listened to Narissa narrate her humiliating experience with Ife, if only she had listened.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Her sad look did not escape Obinna.
    ‘I am fine, I made you beef Jollof rice’ she forced a smile.
    ‘Okay’ Obinna returned her smile, he could sense her pain and he would ask her about it later.

    She had taken a short break from the studio; the main reason she had gone there in the first place.
    Narissa peeled off her clothes and climbed onto her warm bed; the sun was no more yellow, it had turned deep orange and the gray of the cloud would soon cover it completely.
    She had just spoken to her friend Iman; she told her everything that had transpired between her and Ife. If it were a movie, she’d say the script writers failed in their job, as the antagonist overcame the protagonist too easily; but it was real. This was real, Ife had broken her heart.
    She broke into sobs, her voice croaked, her body felt weak; she was totally immersed in a sea of sadness. How could she have been so blind by his charms? She was Narissa the hot girl, who knew the in and out of relationships; and here she was, beaten and bruised by a man she had thought she loved.
    ‘I will get over you Ife, I promise’ she wiped her face and sat up as her phone rang.
    After her last boyfriend Yomi, she had vowed never to get heartbroken but she had failed in that promise she had made to herself.
    ‘I won’t fail this time, I would get over you’ she murmured to herself and took the call.
    ‘Father’ She took a deep breath.
    ‘Narissa, what happened? You and Ife just bailed out on us’ the man said.
    ‘I am sorry father, I cannot marry a man like Ife, nothing good will ever come out of it’ she replied.
    ‘But you two seemed so perfect. Talk to me Narissa, what happened?’ he inquired, he sensed she had been crying.
    ‘Nothing. I’ll call you later dad, thank you’ she ended the call hurriedly. Nobody could see her this way, weak and vulnerable. She didn’t need to be pitied, that’s why she needed to heal fast.
     Minutes later, another call came through, the number was strange.
    ‘Hello,’ she picked it swiftly.
    ‘My darling angel, how are you doing?’
    ‘Sorry, who am I speaking with please?’ She arched a brow.
    ‘Ekenedichukwu, Ife’s friend. I took you to the park, remember?’ he said.
    ‘Oh, you’ she nodded, she remembered him quite well. Now she had gotten control of her emotions, she decided it wasn’t okay to be talking to Ife’s friend; that was folly in its entirety. It was like dining with friends of the devil, who knew if the devil had sent them to test you again?
    ‘Yes, how are you doing? Hope you’re good’ He sounded concerned.
    ‘Good’ she bit her lip, it was time to tell him the truth.
    ‘You know what, Ekene?’
    ‘What?’ He waited.
    ‘I don’t think it’s right for you to call, I appreciate all your efforts today. Thank you. But I’ll appreciate if you don’t call me again’ she expressed her thoughts.
    ‘Oh, really?’ Ekene felt humiliated. Why would she reject him outrightly?
    ‘Yes, thank you’ she was about to end the call when he said something very hurtful.
    ‘Whatever! You were such a cheap lay anywhere. I won the bet’ he hissed angrily.
    ‘What? What do you mean?’ She asked but the line was dead.

    Episode Seventeen

    ‘Whatever! You were such a cheap lay anywhere. I won the bet’ he hissed angrily.
    ‘What? What do you mean?’ She asked but the line was dead.
    Two days had passed since Obinna had the accident; he had been discharged by the doctor after several tests had been carried out on him; Iman drove him back to his house.
    ‘I am so happy you’re back home’ Asa hugged him as he stepped into the house.
    ‘Thanks, angel’ he caressed her hair.
    ‘Thank you Iman’ he reached out for her hands and gently caressed it.
    ‘No big deal, the things we do for friends’ she smiled and sat on the bed. Each day she had spent with Obinna drew her closer to him; she learnt so many things about him while at the hospital.
    Scholarships had put him through school; she figured he must have been very hardworking and intelligent. She was moved by his story of how their parents died, leaving him to fend for his only sister and Ekene who had now turned his back on them.
    ‘I think I am strong enough to work’ Obinna examined his muscles and the girls burst out laughing.
    ‘You don’t have six packs o, don’t deceive me’ Asa screeched.
    ‘Of course, I do, should I show you?’ He moved towards the bed and pinched her cheeks; then turning to Iman, he tickled her till tears fell from her eyes.
    ‘You’re too troublesome for someone that just returned from the hospital’ she laughed.
    ‘Yea’ he rolled his eyes and joined them on the bed.
    Iman stopped laughing; she had come for serious business and she needed to tell him straight away.
    ‘You will no longer work at the mall’ she started.
    ‘Amen! I like prophecies’ he became a little embarrassed as he remembered his financial status.
    ‘I am not prophesying, you are a good man Obinna and you deserve the best’ she continued slowly.
    ‘Wow, this is going to be epic’ Asa muttered to herself and left for the kitchen.
    ‘Here, my elder brother owns a firm and I have gotten you a spot, you’ll be managing the Sales department’ she dipped a hand into her pocket and fetched a brown envelope.
    He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out, was this real? Was he dreaming?
    ‘Take it’ she still held the envelope.
    ‘Um, why are you doing this?’ He tore open the envelope and read an appointment letter in his name.
    ‘Because you deserve it’ she shrugged. She came from a very wealthy family; whenever she had the opportunity to improve lives, she did it without second thoughts.
    ‘I don’t know what to say’ tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered all the years of suffering; the years of hard work with nothing to show for it; the years of humiliation.
    ‘You can start by thanking God my brother listened; he has so much faith in me. So get your things ready, your documents, he will screen you personally when you resume’ she rose to her feet. She had played an important part in his life; she almost cried as she saw the tears that glazed his eyes but she held herself. She still had tears to shed for Narissa who had been dumped by that brute.
    ‘Thank you so much Iman’ without hesitation, he moved closer to her and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
    ‘Obinna, your sister’ Iman struggled against him.
    ‘She is old enough’ he waved her fears aside and deepened the kiss.
    The kiss was sweet and passionate; confusing for them both though, were they developing feelings for each other?
    ‘I have to go Obinna, we’ll talk later. Call me if you need anything, I need to see my friend Narissa’ she broke the kiss and caressed his lips.
    ‘Thank you, you’re my angel’ he rubbed her face.
    ‘You are most welcome, goodbye Asa’ she called, then trudged out of the room.
    ‘You can come out now’ Obinna rolled his eyes, he knew his sister had been watching them from the kitchen.
    ‘Wow, Romeo and Juliet, or should I say, Jack and Rose?’ Asa grinned sheepishly as she came out of the kitchen.
    ‘She is really a godsend Asa, I have never met anyone like her’ he kept reading the letter over again.
    ‘You both are attracted to each other, why don’t you ask her out?’ Asa blurted out.
    ‘I don’t know Asa. I am scared of opening up my heart after Nkoli. Did you know she slept with Ekene?’ he turned and faced her.
    Asa took a deep breath and avoided his eyes. What if he thought she conspired with Ekene to hurt him?
    ‘I warned him. I begged him to find other women but he seemed so interested in Nkoli. He was so bent on…’Asa paused and stared at her brother.
    ‘Hurting me’ Obinna added.
    ‘I know I did bad by assuming his money was dirty and I am sorry; Ekene has never been a good person. I was only trying to protect him and you’ Obinna exhaled.
    ‘There’s no need. You tried, at least you have saved me. Now, we need to figure out what you’ll wear on your first day at work’ she grinned.
    ‘Good girl. Let’s do just that’
    Iman still rubbed her lips, the place where Obinna had kissed her; it felt good to be kissed by such a handsome young man.  A smile split her face as she remembered his excited expression when she had offered him the job.
    ‘Iman’ Narissa called her as she drove into the premises. Her friend lived big like the celebrity she was. The house was a large bungalow, with a high fence, a garden, and a swimming pool.
    ‘Narissa’ she rushed out of the car towards her friend, was she drinking now?
    ‘What happened? Tell me everything honey’ Iman hugged her.
    ‘Nothing. I have overcome my pain’ she replied icily and poured herself more brandy.
    ‘Oh? By drinking yourself to stupor?’ Iman took the bottle and snatched the glass out of her hands.
    ‘Yes. I should’ve listened to you but I was carried away by the good sex and his sweet tongue. Fuck Ife Martins’ tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘I agree, fuck him too’ Iman pulled a chair and sat next to her.
    ‘So when you left to see your friend, I stepped into the house and was surprised to see Ife there. I was made to understand he was my to-be-husband and that thrilled me. His countenance suddenly fell, he became very rude to me and told me he never loved me. I was such a fool’ she narrated her ordeal.
    ‘Sorry honey, was that why you put your show on hold for six months? Won’t that affect your fan base’? Iman rubbed her shoulder.
    ‘I don’t care Iman. I have lost interest in so many things. All I want is to get away from this place. From all of these’, she took a deep breath.
    ‘You got over Yomi, you’ll get over Ife’ Iman encouraged her friend.
    ‘Sure. I have gotten over him, just one thing still nags me’ she paused.
    ‘What?’ Iman asked.
    ‘His friend Ekene called me and tried being close but I blocked him out. He then lashed at me and made a statement that sent shivers down my spine’ she stuttered. What if she had actually been a bet?
    ‘Ekene? That name stands for no good I guess’ Iman rolled her eyes as she thought of Obinna’s faceless brother.
    ‘He called me a cheap lay and said he won the bet’ Narissa replied.
    ‘Why would he say something like that? Do you think Ife had come to test you?’ Iman dropped the bottle back on the table, her own hands were shaking.
    ‘I did something every stupid Iman. I have been a very nasty person to you’
    ‘What did you do?’ Iman asked.

    Episode Eighteen

    ‘I did something every stupid Iman. I have been a very nasty person to you’
    ‘What did you do?’ Iman asked.
    ‘I had sex with Ife on the first date’ she said.
    ‘That isn’t a bad thing. I had a one night stand with Obinna too but that doesn’t mean our friendship won’t last. Ife is a boy, he hurt you but you have to get back up on your feet’ Iman advised.
    ‘I feel like smashing his head into a wall’ Narissa said.
    ‘I feel you on that but it would end you in jail. Just get over him, you need strength honey’ Iman pecked her.
    ‘Thanks for always being there for me’ Narissa felt lighter after talking to her friend.
    ‘Yes, that’s what friends are for’ she replied.
    ‘So, on the brighter side, how is Obinna your friend?’ Narissa was curious about the young man.
    ‘Very fine. He isn’t just a sales boy by the way. He is a second class upper graduate of business management, University of Nigeria’ Iman bragged.
    ‘Are you kidding me? And I called him sales boy!’ Narissa’s eyes widened in shock.
    ‘He is going to work with my elder brother Usman. I am so happy for him’ Iman beamed.
    ‘That’s so sweet. You offered him the job?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘No, he earned it’ Iman answered. She had decided to keep some things to herself.
    ‘You’re lying, you offered him the job’ Narissa didn’t miss the way Iman avoided her eyes.
    ‘It’s not a bad thing. He may turn out to be Mr. Perfect for you. We never can tell’ Narissa shrugged.
    Since the encounter with Narissa, he seemed to lose his peace. Whenever he watched a movie, he saw her face; when he wanted to sleep, he saw her face and now while pouring himself a drink, her face was all he saw.
    ‘Guilt’ he murmured before swallowing his drink.
    ‘Guilt is all it is and nothing more’ he poured another glass.
    A loud blast of a familiar horn almost burst his ear drums and he went to check the gate; he didn’t remember inviting any one over. He needed some alone time for himself.
    ‘Ekene’ he was surprised to see his friend.
    ‘My guy, how are you?’ Ekene stormed out of his car.  He had tried penetrating Narissa’s high walls but she had bruised his ego; he hated it when his ego was scratched. He knew just how to humble her.
    ‘I am fine’ Ife replied coolly and led them inside.
    ‘About that your girl Narissa, what do you say we teach her a lesson?’ Ekene rubbed his hand nervously.
    ‘What lesson?’ Ife raised his brow.
    ‘Let’s leak that voice note of you two having sex, it would humiliate her the more’ Ekene suggested.
    ‘Seriously?’ Ife’s eyes darkened, what demon had possessed his friend?
    ‘Yes, I called her and she spoke rudely to me’ he blurted out without thinking.
    ‘You called Narissa? Why would you call her?’ Ife raised an eyebrow.
    ‘Sorry, I didn’t call her’ he lied.
    There was silence for a while; Ife regarded his friend steadily, it all made sense now.
    ‘Do you think I am a fool Ekene?’ His question broke the silence that hung in the air.
    ‘No, why would you ask that?’ Ekene shrugged.
    ‘Why do I have a feeling that you went behind my back to ask my ex out? Did you do something like that?’ Ife dropped the glass he held.
    ‘Well, there’s no point lying. I wanted to have my share of her pink pussy too’ he said.
    ‘How foolish. You’re a stupid person!’ Ife was infuriated. He felt more stupid for deciding to bet with Ekene.
    ‘Why are you calling me names? Are you aware that I have the voice note that you sent to me? I could easily leak it to the internet?
    ‘But you wouldn’t’ Ife rose to his feet.
    ‘I picked you from the gutter Ekene, made you my friend and gave you a job of a lifetime in my company. And you had the effrontery to pick interest in the woman I once dated? Now, you even threaten to leak the voice note I sent you?’
    ‘Of course. You know very well that if I leak that voice note, your career and hers are over, so you better speak to me with respect’ Ekene joined him on his feet.
    ‘Really? You are my worst mistake but I don’t blame you Ekene, I was the bigger fool’ Ife shrugged.
    ‘Good. I am happy you know you are a fool. Now pour me a drink’ Ekene ordered.
    ‘No problem, as long as you don’t leak the voice note’ Ife complied.
    With Asa’s help, he’d dressed up like a corporate executive; he wore an old suit, the dark color complimented his caramel complexion; his hair was neatly combed, no strand was out of place.
    The brown of his eyes seemed brighter than usual, his angular face reflected joy and his lips wore a confident smile.
    Obinna felt an inch taller, he was not a six footer, an average man by height but at that moment when he walked into “Lorex limited”, he felt like a king.
    ‘All thanks to Iman’ he muttered softly as he was being led to his boss’ office.
    ‘Wait here, he’s on a call’ a young woman offered him a seat close to the office.
    ‘Thank you’ Obinna nodded in appreciation. This was like a dream, only that he was living it.
    ‘Come in’ a deep voice growled, the sound of it terrified him at first but he managed to quickly pull himself together.
    ‘Are you Iman’s friend? You came in highly recommended, have a seat son’ the heavily bearded man said to him.
    ‘Good morning sir’ Obinna bowed his head.
    ‘Don’t call me sir, I have a title. I have been to the holy land seven times’ the man scowled.
    ‘Oh, I am sorry Alhaji’ Obinna quickly corrected himself.
    ‘Good. So I hear you graduated with a second class upper degree in business management, Iman must really like you. She has never done this for anyone before’ he scanned the young man suspiciously. He seemed like one with a noble character but he needed to be sure.
    ‘What would you do if you were trapped in a burning house and there was just one thing for you to rescue: your money bag or your certificate?’ The Alhaji stared intently into his eyes, he needed to know if the young man was fit for the position he was giving him.
    Obinna could sense he was being interviewed, a thoughtful question indeed. He knew the outcome would determine if he was fit for the job or not.
    ‘I am waiting…’ the man drummed his chubby fingers on the glass table.
    ‘I would leave with nothing’ Obinna simply replied.
    ‘Why is that?’ The man was startled by his answer.
    ‘Because fire burns faster than anything; flames travel as fast as the speed of light. This fire that burns my house will consume me if I try to find my money bag or my certificate’ he answered.
    ‘So you’ll let everything go, just like that? Tell me Mr Obinna, do you give up that easily in life?’
    ‘No. I don’t give up, I am a go getter but this fact holds true for me at all time…’ He paused.
    ‘What fact?’ The man raised his brows.
    ‘Some things aren’t worth fighting for. I know how important money can be and how important one’s certificate is, but life is the most precious thing anyone could ever have. This also relates to business, what good is a business man without his life? Once he dies, his dreams and passions go with him’ Obinna answered.
    ‘But what good is he without money?’ The Alhaji pressed on.

    Episode Nineteen

    ‘But what good is he without money?’ The Alhaji pressed on.
    ‘Every business man needs money but you need to be alive to fight for it’ Obinna differed.
    A crooked smile played on the man’s lips; the young man reasoned differently. The question he’d launched at him was his favorite for job seekers; the answer always portrayed their outlook towards life.
    ‘Though not what I expected, I like your philosophy and outlook to life. I thought you’d choose the money bag over anything else. You have the job, young man. You’ll be provided with a house and your own personal car as long as you work here. Congratulations’ he rose to his feet and offered Obinna a handshake.
    ‘All these for me?’ Obinna was speechless.
    ‘Do more for Lorex limited and you’ll be greatly rewarded’ the man patted him on the shoulder.
    ‘Asa, you need to hurry, we don’t want to keep Narissa waiting too long’ Iman blasted her horn. She had not been early enough to meet Obinna on his first day at work but she had come later to see his sister.
    Asa was a mouthful, she had disturbed her throughout the night saying she needed to see her role model Narissa, in person.
    ‘I am here, how do I look’ Asa stepped out of the house in a pair of blue pencil jeans and a green top.
    ‘Splendid, can we go now?’ Iman raised a brow.
    ‘I have changed like five times, I want this meeting to be perfect. I adore her so much’ Asa drew a breath and stared at her face in the mirror.
    ‘We’ll see her soon’ Iman started the car. Since Narissa had nothing going on at the moment – she was on leave and had no relationship – Iman made it a point of duty to keep her best friend company.
    ‘So tell me, what did your brother wear to work?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Suit and tie, he looked so gorgeous’ Asa beamed as she described him.
    ‘That’s sweet, I missed. We ought to have taken pictures’ Iman smiled as she imagined Obinna in a suit.
    ‘You two are perfect for each other’ Asa blurted out.
    ‘Oh? We are just friends really, nothing much’ Iman’s heart skipped at the thought of Obinna being with another woman. Did she really have feelings for him?
    ‘Friends don’t kiss each other’ Asa replied.
    ‘We never kissed’ Iman swallowed hard and quickly turned on the radio, she wanted Asa to be quiet.
    ‘Whatever’ Asa thought. She wasn’t a child, she knew when two people were drawn to each other; Iman and Obinna were in love, they were either oblivious to that fact or were fooling each other.
    Iman felt her heart race as she thought of the first time they’d made love; it had been so perfect; he had opened up himself completely to her. She had felt it that night, and she had accepted his pain and worries as her own burden.
    ‘We are here’ She announced and brought the car to a halt.
    Days had rolled by lazily but she had finally gotten over Ife. It had been difficult at first but she reminded herself that she was “Narissa the hot girl” and no man could treat her like trash.
    Iman had fixed a date, the venue was the fast food section of “Rosydew hotel.”  She had wanted to object as that was the first place she had met Ife but that would mean she still felt something for him.
    ‘What would you like Madam?’ a waitress loomed over her.
    ‘Come back in ten minutes time, I want my friend to be here before I order’ Narissa said before taking off her Louis Vuitton shades.
    ‘Okay then’ the young girl whose face looked somewhat familiar scurried off.
    The moment she took off her shades, she sighted Iman come in with a young pretty light skinned girl. Who was she? Narissa wondered.
    ‘Here you are’ Iman’s eyes met hers.
    ‘Iman’ Narissa rose to her feet and hugged her.
    ‘Thanks, Narissa, there’s someone who has been dying to meet you. She is your number one fan’ Iman did the introductions.
    ‘I can’t believe I am standing next to you’ tears of joy welled up in her eyes.
    ‘I am very pleased to meet you, Asa. How are you’? Narissa was delighted to meet yet another fan, the numbers kept increasing.
    ‘I am happy. In fact, today is my happiest moment ever. I watch your program every day and I felt so sad that you stopped. You’re such an amazing person Narissa and I want to be like you some day’ Asa poured out her heart.
    ‘Thanks so much Asa. I needed to take a break, I will be back soon. Back and better’ Narissa squeezed her cheeks.
    ‘Thanks’ Asa felt satisfied, she had met the person she admired most after her brother Obinna.
    ‘You should take my phone and do some videos. Rosydew is a fun place to be’ Iman handed her the iPhone 7.
    ‘Okay, give me fifteen minutes, I will be back’ Asa smiled and left.
    ‘Such a beautiful soul, that one’ Narissa liked the girl. She was filled with many promises.
    ‘That’s Obinna’s sister’ Iman said it casually.
    ‘Really? You’re meeting his relatives already? Are you sure that’s a good idea?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘It’s not bad, I am not expecting anything from him’ Iman shrugged. She almost didn’t believe that.
    ‘I know I was wrong to call him “Sales boy” and I promise never to do it again but you have to be careful Iman. This guy may just be using you’ Narissa started.
    ‘Use me? How?’ Iman was uncomfortable with the conversation.
    ‘You got him a job, you slept with him. What if he has something he is hiding from you? Like another woman?’  Narissa asked.
    ‘I wouldn’t be bothered, I am only doing this out of the goodness of my heart’ Iman shook the scary feeling that bugged her. She felt fear and jealousy, a mixture of both but her heart wouldn’t tell her why.
    ‘I am not jealous of you Iman neither am I trying to hurt you. I just want you to be careful; I have realized from my own experience that it is a good thing to listen to friends, please I don’t ever want to see you get hurt’ Narissa rubbed her hands.
    ‘I don’t know, Obinna seems like a nice guy, could he be a fake?’ Iman wondered.
    ‘Don’t let niceness deceive you, I was carried away by Ife, remember?’ Narissa raised a brow.
    ‘I have heard you Narissa but nothing bad will happen between me and Obinna. Trust me’ Iman insisted.
    ‘Trust you? You can never be too sure of the future. There’s something about Obinna though, he doesn’t seem to notice me. He isn’t plagued by my beauty, his eyes are always fixed on you, maybe he really does like you’ Narissa voiced her thoughts.
    ‘Really? What kind of man isn’t moved by your great beauty?!’ Iman winked and they both laughed.
    ‘I am glad to have you as a friend, it makes my life easier.’ Narissa smiled at her.
    ‘Same here’ Iman nodded.
    ‘Excuse me, ladies, your sister has been taken into custody for fighting with one of our workers, the police have been called in’ a waitress rushed to their table.
    ‘What? What fight?’ Iman rose to her feet as they both rushed to the scene.

    Episode Twenty

    ‘What? What fight?’ Iman rose to her feet as they both rushed to the scene.
    Ekene drank in silence not minding the fact that he had pissed off his friend; he wasn’t bothered. He would still pay Narissa back for the way she spoke to him by releasing the voice note online.
    His phone buzzed as he was prepared to pour himself another glass; it was strange. Asa had not called him since he threw her out of his house.
    ‘Excuse me’ he rose to his feet and moved away from his friend.
    ‘Already excused’ Ife’s eyes darkened as he watched the betrayer that he called a friend.
    He had hurt Narissa enough by saying those hurtful words to her; leaking the voice note would be more damaging to both their careers. His eyes strayed to a piece of art close to his cellar that resembled a club.
    ‘Hello Asamma, has Obinna abandoned you already? I guess you’re starving over there, should I send you some money?’ He taunted.
    ‘This is not the time to joke Ekene, I am in serious trouble’ she sounded very afraid.
    ‘What trouble and where is that thick skull called Obinna?’ He became serious.
    ‘The police…’ She was about to speak when the line went dead.
    ‘What the fuck!’ He rolled his eyes then swirled towards the cellar but his friend wasn’t there.
    ‘Where the hell are you? I am leaving, my sister is in trouble’ he called sharply but there was no answer.
    ‘Here I am’ Ife resurfaced and launched the club at his head. With a sharp cry, he collapsed to the floor.
    ‘Fool’ he towered above his body.
    ‘Give me back my phone, you don’t know what happened’ Asa struggled with the security man that collected her phone. She had wanted to call Obinna but his number was switched off.
    Heads turned in their direction but she wasn’t moved; she had given her brother’s ex the beating she deserved.
    ‘What happened?’ Iman and Narissa rushed to the scene.
    ‘She attacked me, I was out here making videos and someone launched me a slap from behind. What was I supposed to do? Let her go that easily?’ Asa explained to them both.
    ‘Excuse me sir, there’s a misunderstanding here, I am sure this does not require the police’ Iman stepped forward.
    ‘Too late for that, here is the girl that had been threatening my life’ Nkoli returned with two skinny men in uniform, they were accompanied by a black van.
    ‘You have to follow us to the station’ they stated their purpose.
    ‘Please sirs…’Iman tried to beg them but they wouldn’t listen.
    ‘It’s okay, tell Obinna to come pick me. I already called Ekene but my phone was seized before I could tell him what was happening. Here, have yours, please save my videos’ she winked at Iman and Narissa and followed the police.
    ‘Young lady, why are you doing this? You know very well Asa never attacked you. I can swear she doesn’t have any violent streak in her’ Iman turned sharply to the lady in question.
    ‘Fools’ Nkoli had recognized the celebrity but she wasn’t in any mood for niceties. She hissed angrily and walked away.
    After Ekene had dumped her, she had vowed to pay him back. Seeing Asa there at Rosydew making videos of herself, looking so happy infuriated her greatly. No one in their family, especially Ekene, had the right to be happy after dumping her.
    ‘What do we do now?’ Narissa wondered.
    ‘I’ll have to call Obinna’ Iman replied coolly.
    Narissa’s phone rang, it shook against her purse. She took it out to see the caller.
    Her father.
    ‘Why won’t he stop calling?’ Narissa rolled her eyes. She had ignored her father’s call for a week now.
    ‘Why should he? He is your father Narissa. I cannot tell you what to do with him but maybe you should hear him out. Maybe you should listen to what he has to say; he may be sorry for trying to match make you with that bastard’ Iman advised.
    ‘So I should take the call’? Narissa raised a brow.
    ‘If you have really gotten over Ife, that won’t be a problem. In fact, do more than the call, go see your father, hear him out’ Iman advised.
    ‘Okay, let me head there now, see you later’ she pecked her friend lightly and left for her car.
    ‘Bye honey. Good luck with Edna too’ Iman winked.
    ‘I hear you! I totally get you’ Narissa laughed and slid into her car.
    ‘Now I have to call you’ Iman exhaled. She felt bad this happened on her watch, what if Obinna felt disappointed in her?
    Obinna had been shopping for a proper gift for Iman; he owed her so much and he needed to show her gratitude.
    ‘What would you like sir?’ A young girl trudged towards him as he stepped into the jewelry store.
    ‘A beautiful necklace or earring’ Obinna shrugged.
    ‘Eye colour is important for choosing things like this’ she returned with samples of golden necklaces and earrings.
    ‘Oh? Is that?’ Obinna wore a soft smile.
    ‘Her eyes are golden brown, can you give me something that would compliment that?’ Obinna asked.
    ‘Alright. I’ll be back’ the sales girl disappeared once again.
    He noticed his phone vibrated in his pocket.
    ‘Iman’ he pulled it out and smiled, he couldn’t wait to tell her everything about his day.
    She narrated the events that had taken place at Rosydew and how Asa had been arrested by the police.
    ‘What? I’ll be there in a minute, we’ll go there together’ he dropped the phone.
    ‘Here it is sir’ she showed him a fine gold necklace with a precious stone the color of Iman’s eyes.
    ‘Alright, hurry with it’ he waited impatiently for the necklace.
    He wondered who Asa had fought with and why the person would involve the police.  He knew his sister very well, she wasn’t a troublesome person; she was loving, sweet, kind and outspoken.
    ‘Thanks’ he paid for the necklace and left for his car.
    So many thoughts plagued him. He felt Ekene was behind this; Ekene could do many things just to get back at him.
    He prayed silently in his heart for wisdom to handle the situation wisely.
    ‘There you are! I have been so worried’ Iman flung her arms around him.
    ‘Darling’ he whispered and hugged her tightly.
    ‘We have to leave now, the longer she stays in there, the worse this thing could get’ Iman pulled away from him.  She felt an odd tingling in her skin as he hugged her.
    ‘True’ Obinna led her to his car.
    ‘Wow, this is lovely. I wish we weren’t having a situation, we would drink to this’ Iman touched the black car admiringly.
    ‘We will still celebrate love. I will celebrate you’ he kissed her and pulled open the car door.
    His words were so beautiful, he made her feel like a queen. She stole a glance at him as they arrived the police station, what if he was being so nice because she helped him with the job? Was Narissa right? Did Obinna have another woman?
    ‘I am sorry this happened on my watch, I am so sorry Obinna’ she apologized.
    He simply stared at her and laughed ‘Sorry? You did nothing wrong, dear’. He took her hands in his and they both walked into the station.
    ‘Good afternoon gentlemen, I am here to get my sister’ Obinna wore a frown.

    Episode Twenty one

    ‘Good afternoon gentlemen, I am here to get my sister’ Obinna wore a frown.
    Ife had successfully tied Ekene to a chair and scrutinized his phone while he was still unconscious. He had found just one copy of the voice note in Ekene’s mailbox; he had deleted it immediately.
    ‘Where am I?’ Ekene groaned and scanned the environment.
    ‘We are at your house’ Ife replied coolly.
    ‘Or should I say “My house”, considering the fact that I gave you all these. You didn’t deserve a thing but I gave you anyway. The house, the car, the job’ Ife gestured with his hands.
    ‘Are you going to kill me?’ Ekene’s dull irises shot up.
    ‘No. I am not a murderer Ekene. I am nothing like you’ Ife replied.
    ‘So what do you want?’ He asked.
    ‘I need all the copies of the voice note I sent to you. I have just deleted one from your phone, where are the others?’ He rose to his feet with the club.
    ‘That’s the only one I had, I swear’ Ekene begged. He never thought Ife was capable of something like this. Was he a killer?
    ‘I trusted you, yet you thought me a fool. Why would you call Narissa a “Cheap lay?” Why would you even tell her about the bet? How could you?’ Ife rolled his eyes.
    ‘Please do not hurt me. I promise to mind my business going forward. I swear, that’s all I had on my phone. I promise’ Ekene begged.
    ‘Really?’ Ife stared at him intently. He needed to be sure he wasn’t lying.
    ‘Good. You are no longer welcomed at Methocorp. Once I release you, pack your things and get the hell out of this house; drop the car keys too. If you try anything funny, if you attempt to harm me in any way, I would spill your guts, chop your body into fine little pieces and eat them’ Ife said the words so slowly, it raised the hairs on Ekene’s nape.
    ‘Please don’t do this to me; if you take it all from me, I’ll have nothing. I will be useless’ Ekene begged. If Ife carried out his threats, his life would be over. He would have to return to Obinna for help and that was the last thing he wished for.
    ‘You’re such an ingrate. I cannot pardon somebody like you’ Ife moved towards him and undid the ropes that bound him to the chair.
    ‘Ife, please, you don’t have to do this’ he fell on his knees.
    ’You don’t tell me what to do, now get out of my house before I change my mind and use this club on your brain’ Ife lifted the heavy object.
    ‘Please, I’ll be left with nothing. Have mercy, I beg of you’ tears welled up in his eyes.
    ‘Left with nothing? Nigga you are nothing. Now, be on your way!’ Ife pushed him hard.
    The police men exchanged glares as the young man moved towards to them. Then the eldest whispered into the ears of the younger officer.
    ‘He seems like a well-to-do man. That stupid girl shouldn’t have invited us in the first place’.
    ‘I am still waiting’ Obinna repeated himself.
    ‘We are very sorry sir for the inconvenience; please have a seat while we go bring her’
    ‘I am sorry Obinna, this is all my fault’ Iman kept apologizing.
    ‘Honey, I have told you to stop’ he scooped her hand and squeezed it.
    Minutes later, Asa was brought to him. Her face still glowed, then a wide smile spilt her face as she saw her brother.
    ‘Obinna’ she rushed and hugged him.
    ‘My love, how are you?’ he smoothened her hair.
    ‘Fine. I am happy you both came, that place stinks like hell’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘Sir, please, you’ll have to sign here’ the police officer called his attention.
    ‘Let’s go wait for him in the car’ Iman pulled Asa towards her and they both left.
    ‘We are very sorry sir’ the policemen apologized after he was done with the documentation’
    ‘It’s okay, have this’ he dipped a hand into his pocket, fetched some naira notes and handed it over.
    Their faces were bright with joy.
    ‘Sir, we are loyal’ they cheered him.
    ‘Thank you’ Obinna made for the door but was stopped by a familiar scent. Although he had gotten over her, he’d still recognized the scent of her perfume anytime, anywhere.
    He swirled around and faced the woman that he once loved, the woman that had trampled his love with eyes wide opened.
    Their eyes fastened together but neither spoke any word.
    He trotted past her towards his car and joined Iman and Asa.
    ‘I hope you have not released that girl, she attacked me for heaven’s sake!’ Nkoli hissed angrily. What was that loser doing here anyway?
    ‘You better leave this place if you know what is good for you’ the officers warned.
    ‘What kind of stupid talk is that? I paid you good money to arrest that girl’ Nkoli was infuriated.
    ‘You call your chicken change, money? You can have it back’ the older officer launched the five hundred naira note at her.
    ‘What is the meaning of this?’ Nkoli hissed angrily, ’what did that loser do to both of you?’
    ‘Loser? Mr Obinna is a well-to-do man. What he gave us is nothing compared to your chicken change’ they both laughed.
    ‘Mr Obinna?’ She raised her brow and wondered what was actually happening.
    ‘If you are done, you can leave now or we take you into custody.’
    ‘Stupid officers’ she cursed underneath her breath and left. Her heart leapt as she saw him drive away in a sleek black car.
    ‘What is really happening?’ Her heart raced. Had Obinna finally made it in life?
    ‘No, impossible’ she reassured herself. She needed to get more information about him.
    Obinna returned to the car wearing a gloomy look; Asa was the first to notice it as they drove away from the police station.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Iman observed the tightness of his features.
    ‘I am fine love’ he forced a smile. Seeing Nkoli at the station had resurrected memories of how she had treated him when he had nothing.
    ‘So Asa, tell me what really happened, who attacked you?’ He pushed the disturbing thoughts out of his mind.
    ‘Who else than that crazy girl Nkoli?’ Asa hissed angrily.
    ‘Nkoli attacked you? Why?’ Obinna almost lost his focus on the steering.
    ‘I was just doing a video with Iman’s phone when she pushed me from behind, telling me she promised to deal with me while at Ekene’s place’ Asa narrated in detail what had taken place.
    ‘Who is Nkoli?’ Iman was a bit lost.
    The car suddenly turned into a graveyard as no one was willing to provide any answer; she noticed Asa peered out of the window pretending she had not heard the question.
    ‘My ex’ Obinna said quietly.
    ‘Oh, sorry I asked. I was just curious’ Iman suddenly felt embarrassed and self-conscious as his eyes penetrated hers.
    ‘No need. She is stale wine. You never asked me about work’ he needed to lift his spirits and theirs.
    ‘Okay, tell me about work’ Iman’s lips gave way to a weak smile as she stared right back at him.
    ‘You guys never asked about this car, I was given the car and a house; we are moving there today’ he announced.
    ‘Oh my God! I am so happy for you’ Asa cheered.
    ‘Congratulations, you deserve it’ Iman smiled.
    ‘The Alhaji has a good sense of humor you know, he asked me some questions’ Obinna smiled as he remembered the time he spent with his boss.
    ‘I know brother Usman and his mind bugging questions. I am happy you could answer them to his satisfaction’ Iman felt proud of him.

    Episode Twenty Two

    ‘I know brother Usman and his mind bugging questions. I am happy you could answer them to his satisfaction’ Iman felt proud of him.
    ‘Everything I have I owe to you, Iman. You had faith in me when others fled; you believed in me when others didn’t’ his voice was husky with emotion as he poured out his heart.
    ‘I didn’t really do anything’ she shrugged. Waves of uncertainty flushed her face and she suddenly grew pale as she recalled Narissa’s words. What if Obinna had a woman somewhere?
    ‘I only did this out of the goodness of my heart’ she thought and swallowed hard.
    ‘Are you okay?’ He noticed her discomfort.
    ‘Yes, you can stop me here.Remember I left my car at Rosydew?’ She needed to get away from him.
    ‘Oh? Okay then’ he brought the car to a halt.
    ‘Bye guys’ she waved at both of them and hurried out of the car.
    ‘Weird, if you ask me’ Asa jumped to the front seat.
    ‘Weird?’ Obinna raised his brows.
    ‘Iman, she looks kinda sad’ Asa said.
    ‘Yes, I hope she is alright. Maybe something is going on with her, I need to find out’ Obinna suddenly realized he knew nothing much about her personal life. What if she was dating? But she wouldn’t have had sex with him if she was, would she?
    ‘You love her’ the words coiled out of her mouth smoothly.
    ‘Huh?’ He rolled his eyes. He liked Iman yes, she was a very nice person but Love? He was scared of ever giving his heart out.
    ‘I see the way you look at her Obinna, why are you denying the inevitable? Except, of course, you aren’t willing to pursue it’ Asa sighed.
    ‘Let’s talk about something else, when last did you hear from Ekene?’ Obinna suddenly asked about his younger brother.
    ‘I called him today when I couldn’t reach you. I guess he is alright. Why do you care about him though? He doesn’t give a hoot about you’ she reminded him.
    ‘Well, life has thought me not to pay evil with evil; forgiveness is divine’ Obinna meant every word, he held no grudge against his brother; Ekene was still his blood no matter what.
    She had taken Iman’s advice and paid her father a visit; she still owed them an explanation about the way she disappeared the other day.  She had spent four hours watching movies. Edna and her father weren’t home but they’d left a key with the gateman.
    Tired and hungry, Narissa rose to her feet and trotted towards the kitchen to fix herself a quick snack.
    She hummed a tune as she cut the bread up for toasting; a feeling of happiness slowly replaced the emptiness she had felt when Ife broke up with her.
    ‘Baby girl, no man can ever hurt you without your consent. I am so over him’ a bright smile appeared on her face as she applied margarine to her bread.
    Taking a break from her job had been the best decision ever; she still had a lot to learn about relationships and she was prepared to share her life story once she was back on the air.
    ‘Narissa, is that you?’
    ‘Edna, dad? When did you guys come? You scared me’ she was surprised to see them.
    ‘We went on a date’ her father announced.
    ‘Oh, that’s sweet. You called me, that’s why I am here’ she returned, ignoring her step mother completely.
    ‘I was just worried about you, the way you and that young man left…I thought something bad must have happened’ he moved towards to her.
    ‘Nothing happened father. I do not like him as my husband; in fact, I am not ready to get married anytime soon. Can you please respect that?’ She placed the French toast neatly on a ceramic.
    ‘Anything you say, baby, as long as you are happy’ her father seemed excited to have her home.
    ‘Thanks, dad, can I go now?’ She chewed the bread hurriedly.
    ‘So soon? You just came’ the old man felt sad.
    ‘Stay the night Narissa, keep your father company’ Edna chipped in.
    She was about to argue and call her stepmother names but she bit her lip and shrugged. She had nothing doing at home anyway, it would be boring for her.
    ‘If that’s what you want’ she left for her room.
    ‘Thank you, Edna’
    ‘For?’ The woman wondered.
    ‘Being nice to Narissa for once, you both never see eye to eye’ her husband replied.
    ‘I guess I am growing too old for squabbles; besides, I am not a devil. Your daughter is heartbroken, I can see that. Hurting people need as much kindness as they can get’ Edna led the older man to their bedroom.
    She washed down the French toast with a glass of fresh cow milk she had found in the fridge.
    ‘Been long I ate something like that’ she belched and fetched her phone. She had not heard from her best friend; she decided to talk to her.
    ‘Okay let’s do this’ she slid into Whatsapp.
    Narissa: hello sugar, wats up? Why aren’t you answering your phone?
    Iman: Good evening. I was in the bathroom; just saw your calls.
    Narissa: So how’s the Asa girl? Has she been released?
    Iman: Yes. Yes. Obinna showed.
    Narissa: Are you okay? You aren’t sounding “yourself”
    Iman: Lol, what is “yourself”?
    Narissa: Bubbly, cheerful, funny. Talk to me.
    Iman: I think I have made a very stupid mistake and it’s time to correct it.
    Narissa: what mistake?
    Iman: I think I have feelings for Obinna and it scares the hell out of me.
    Narissa: Wow. Lols. That ain’t no mistake compared to the one I made with Ife. Obinna seems more sincere.
    Iman: What if he doesn’t like me?
    Narissa: You’ll never know unless you find out.
    Iman: Hmmmm
    Narissa: It’s not a bad thing to fall in love; it’s a bad thing to do stupid things while at it. Just be careful Iman. Love you. I have to go now; my father is pounding my door like he is practicing boxing’
    Iman: Lol, now you are the funny one. Let’s hang out tomorrow morning, Rosydew, 9 am. Bye.
    Narissa: No p. Ciao.
    ‘Coming’ she dropped her phone and rushed towards the door.
    ‘Dad…’ she trailed off as Edna stood before her dressed in a burgundy night wear.
    What did she want now?
    ‘Will you at least let me in?’ Edna rubbed her hands nervously.
    ‘Sure, come on in’ Narissa was surprised to see her.
    ‘How are you doing, Narissa?’ Edna asked.
    ‘Fine. What can I do for you, Edna? I hope you aren’t here to talk about another suitor’ she rolled her eyes.
    ‘Calm down child. I am here to talk to you, to advise you’ Edna replied coolly.
    ‘Wow, interesting. I am all ears’ Narissa shook her head in amazement.
    ‘I am sorry I haven’t been the best step mother in the world, I have been selfish and uncaring but all that will change now. I noticed the look on your face when you saw Ife Martins in the living room that day. It was a look of a woman in love but sadly, Ife did not have that same look on his face’ she paused.
    ‘And your point is?’ Narissa scoffed.
    ‘Did Ife break your heart? Have you guys dated before?’ Edna asked.

    Episode Twenty Three

    ‘Did Ife break your heart? Have you guys dated before?’ Edna asked.
    ‘None of your business, now if you’ll let me, I was busy’ Narissa rose to her feet and started towards the door.
    Why was this woman playing nice? She knew women like her, they were snakes. Unpredictable and manipulating.
    ‘You are hurting Narissa but don’t be too hardened in your hurt. Love always finds us again’ Edna rose to leave.
    ‘Good point. Duly noted’ she shut the door loudly as the woman stepped out.
    ‘Don’t be too hardened in your hurt, love always finds us again’ she repeated the woman’s words. Could Love ever find her again? Even if it did, would she have the courage to welcome it?
    She returned to her bed still plagued by those words; slowly she pulled the duvet to her chest then closed her eyes to sleep. Edna’s voice slowly faded to whispers then to colors, to butterflies till everything was a blur. The last face she saw before sleep embraced her fully was his face. Ife’s face.
    The company had given him a duplex; they’d even provided a truck to help him move from his former house.
    ‘I can’t believe this is happening, everything seems so perfect’ Asa couldn’t stop jumping, hours after settling in.
    ‘You better get to your food, it’s cold’ Obinna chuckled softly. He liked to see his sister happy; his next aim in life was to put her through University.
    ‘I will eat when I am done dancing’ she declined.
    He couldn’t blame her, they had suffered enough in life; God had answered their prayers through Iman and he was forever grateful to God and to her.
    ‘Shit’ he swore as he remembered the necklace he had bought her. He had forgotten to give it to her.
    ‘Asa, please get my phone’ he asked. He remembered the look she wore back in the car, something wasn’t right and he needed to get to the root of it.
    ‘Done’ Asa resurfaced.
    ‘Lower the volume of your song please’ he winked. She rushed towards the home theater and reduced its volume.
    He dialed her number and waited patiently for her enchanting voice.
    He thought of her slender frame; her beautiful hands and eyes and her neat little bottom; he thought about the first time they had made love. It had been truly wonderful.
    ‘Obinna’ she drawled like she had just been woken from sleep.
    ‘Sweetheart’ he felt excited.
    ‘Were you sleeping?’ He grinned foolishly.
    ‘Yes but I am not complaining. I am glad you called’ her weak voice gained more strength.
    ‘Can I see you very early tomorrow morning? I have a little surprise for you’ he asked.
    ‘Last I checked it wasn’t my birthday but I will be there’ Iman’s heart raced, would he ask her out?
    ‘You deserve to be celebrated always darling. You are a queen’ Obinna replied.
    ‘Thanks. Kindly text me your new address, I’ll see you in the morning’ she assured him.
    ‘Okay love. Have a beautiful night’ he blew her a kiss over the phone.
    ‘Somebody is in love’ Asa rolled her eyes.
    ‘Better go and sleep smallie’ he ignored her. He still felt something troubled her; Iman wasn’t herself; there was this distance he felt while talking to her. It troubled him, was he bugging her? Did she have a man?
    The morning had come quickly, Edna’s words still rang in her ears as she rushed towards her car; she still felt suspicious of her stepmother, why was she suddenly being nice?
    ‘You’re leaving? I thought you’d stay longer’ her father’s smile faded as he saw her bag.
    ‘I have to father but I promise to be back soon’ she moved towards him and kissed his face.
    ‘Thanks, darling’ he returned the kiss.
    ‘Good morning Narissa’ Edna stepped out from the house.
    ‘Edna’Narissa fiddled with her hands, not knowing how to treat this woman, as an enemy? Or as a friend.
    ‘Take care, visit us soon’ Edna smiled.
    ‘Thanks. Thank you for your words last night’ she waved at her step mother and stepped into the car.
    Iman had fixed an early date so she headed towards Rosydew; she couldn’t wait to tell her friend about Edna’s change of behavior.
     Narissa wore her hair down, the black biracial curls scattered easily on her shoulders, her denim shorts clung to her firm hips and a tank top showed a little piece of her belly.
    ‘Savage’ she hissed as some men gaped at her. She ignored their stares and took a seat at the bar where she would wait for Iman. Men didn’t matter to her anymore, what was the point? She had been hurt twice, maybe she wasn’t destined for love.
    ‘Welcome Madam’ a waitress approached her.
    ‘Um, I’ll love some wine, something easy’ Narissa drummed her hands on the table.
    ‘Sorry Ma’am, I am not here to take your order’ the girl stammered.
    ‘Wow interesting, so what are you here for?’ Narissa thought the girl to be one of her numerous fans.
    ‘That man over there asked me to give you this note’ she dropped a note on the table and sauntered away.
    Narissa’s eyes searched the bar like that of a predator; who was this mystery man?
    Her eyes fell on the man she’d named Lucifer. What did he want with her? What did Ife want?
    Obinna had fixed a morning date with Iman so he didn’t plan on leaving early. Besides, his boss had told him to take his time arranging his new house.
    ‘What’s cooking? I love the smell of bacon and fried eggs’ he joined Asa in the kitchen.
    ‘You deserve to eat the best; please I’ll need some money to go shopping. There’s a lot we need in this house’ Asa reminded him.
    ‘Sure. I know apples will be top on that list’ he winked.
    ‘You know how much I like apples, don’t you?’ She laughed.
    ‘Of course’ he poured himself a glass of water.
    She finished making breakfast and they both sat at the dining table. Obinna was a cheerful person; nothing could easily tear him down but he looked exceptionally happy this morning.
    ‘Why are you so happy?’ Asa dropped her fork and stared at him.
    ‘Shouldn’t I be happy? I am always happy’ he shrugged and continued chewing his food.
    ‘Wow, brilliant but not good enough. I can read you like a book’ she scoffed.
    ‘From that look on your face, I’m guessing Iman is coming’ she added quickly.
     He was about to say something when they heard the doorbell.
    ‘We’ll talk about this later’ Obinna rushed towards the door.
    ‘Welcome Iman! We were just talking about you’ Asa yelled atop her voice. She felt like adding ‘my brother loves you’ but she decided against it. Unlike Ekene, Obinna wouldn’t slap her, he’d just ignore her for days; that was more painful than a slap.
    ‘Speaking of Ekene…’ she trailed off. She had not spoken to her brother in days after the Nkoli incident. She quickly fetched her phone and dialed his number.
    Lost Card s1 Was Twenty Four

    ‘Speaking of Ekene…’ she trailed off. She had not spoken to her brother in days after the Nkoli incident. She quickly fetched her phone and dialed his number.
    Obinna pulled open the door, he wore a bright smile that spread to his brown orbs. One look at the face of the unwanted visitor and the smile faded in a blink.
    ‘Morning sweetheart, how are you?’ She purred sweetly.
    ‘I bought you and Asa some fruits, I know she likes apples. You told me about that, remember?’
    ‘What are you doing her Nkoli? And how did you get my address?’ She was about to ruin his morning.
    ‘Oh sweetheart, don’t be dramatic, does it matter how I got the address of your house? I miss you so much, I love you Obinna and that is all that matters’ she dropped the bag she held and advanced towards him.
    ‘Just stop right there, I don’t remember inviting you to my house. Why do I have the feeling you got my address from those police men?’ Obinna scoffed.
    ‘Baby, I love you. Forget about the past, I had a dream last night, God showed me that we are meant to be together’ she sounded desperate. Who wouldn’t be?
    Obinna was right, she had gotten his address from the policemen, Obinna’s luck had changed overnight and it was beyond her wildest imagination.
    ‘God? I never knew devils worshipped God’ he replied.
    ‘I love you Obinna and from the way you stared at me at the station yesterday, I know you feel it too, we are still very much in love with each other’ she sounded confident.
    ‘You are right, I feel something for you’ he dipped his hand into his pocket and fetched his phone. Maybe it was time to play the bad guy.
    ‘Wow, I knew it. I love you Obinna’ she flung her arms around him.
    ‘I have a little gift for you; have this’ he presented her the phone.
    ‘What is this?’ She paled. The picture showed her unclad in bed with Ekene. Had Asa snapped them?
    As she still contemplated how Obinna got a hold of such obscene picture, a tattered looking Ekene showed up.
    ‘Obinna! Please forgive me for the way I treated you’ he rushed and fell beside his brother.
    ‘Ekene? How did you?’ He stammered.
    ‘Asa, Asa texted me your new address. I was at the old house but I couldn’t get in. Please, help me. I need you. I am sorry’ he spoke in a rush.
    ‘I am always your brother Ekene’ Obinna helped him up his feet, he meant every word.
    ‘What is she doing here?’ He noticed Nkoli, he suddenly felt guilty for sleeping with her.
    ‘I should be asking you that question’ tears welled up in her eyes. She now understood why he’d been playing with his phone after they’d just made love, he had been taking pictures. She had been such a fool, Asa was right after all. Ekene had used her against Obinna.
    ‘What is she talking about?’ He feigned innocence.
    ‘I should be asking you same’ Obinna replied in a similar tone.
    ‘You took this picture without my consent, do you know how humiliated I feel?’ Nkoli’s lips shook.
    ‘Humiliated?’ Ekene replied.
    Suddenly, she pulled out a sharp object from her bag, it was a dagger.
    ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ Obinna flinched as he noticed the object.
    ‘I will deal with you Ekene, when I am done, you’ll never play with a woman’s dignity’ she pointed it’s sharp end at him.
    ‘Dignity? I know women that have dignity but you? You aren’t priceless, you are very cheap commodity’ he fired at her.
    ‘Good. Let’s see what this cheap commodity can do?’ She launched the dagger forward, it narrowly missed his head.
    ‘Obinna do something!’ Ekene yelled as he took to his heels. He felt so weak; Ife had chased him out of the house, took the car and all the money he had on him, even his ATM cards. He couldn’t fight back, Ife was dangerous and powerful.
    ‘Goodbye guys, I guess I can eat in peace now’ Obinna watched as Nkoli chased his brother with a dagger. Maybe it was time for Ekene to pay for his sins.
    ‘I thought I heard Ekene’s voice, I texted him your address’ Asa joined him on the veranda.
    ‘Ekene? Well, he is in good hands. Nkoli’s hands’ he chuckled.
    ‘Nkoli? Where is Iman anyway?’ Asa was confused.
    ‘Here she come’ his face broke into a smile.
    ‘You were saying something about Nkoli, was she here?’ Asa narrowed her brows.
    ‘I shall be back to answer you but now, I need my angel.’ Obinna rushed to welcome her.
    Without hesitation, she gazed deeply into his eyes and tore the paper to shreds.
    ‘I can’t believe this’ she quickly searched her phone. She needed to get out of the bar quickly. She had just received a text from Iman canceling their date.
    ‘Narissa, I am sorry’ Ife rushed to her table. He’d been thinking about her for days, but he had no courage to approach her after what he had done. So he’d come to the bar to drink. Drinking always made him think smart.
    ‘Get out of my way, you arrogant bastard. Leave before I call security’ she rose to her feet.
    ‘Narissa, please forgive me. I don’t know what came over me, I was carried away, I was stupid. I had gold and I didn’t value it’ he begged.
    ‘Stories. I have forgiven you Ife, you came into my life to fulfill a purpose, to teach me a lesson. You were a very good teacher Ife darling, Thank you’ she pushed him out of her way and made for the exit.
    ‘I am sorry. I know you hate me and you’re hurting, just give me another chance. I was a fool’ he followed Narissa to her car.
    ‘Was a fool? You’re a still a fool my dear. A bigger fool you are, standing here and begging. I got over you the minute you rejected me, if you really want us to be cool, do one thing for me’ she said.
    ‘I will do anything, just name it’ he begged.
    ‘Stay the hell away from me Ife Martins else I will report to the police that you’re trying to kidnap me. We both know how Evans is faring’ she rushed into her car.
    ‘Narissa, please’
    ‘Stay away’ she stressed the words and drove away.
    Iman could see the smile plastered on his face; it melted her heart and she felt lost in his eyes. For how long would she continue with this self-deceit? How long would she deny her feelings for Obinna?
    ‘I am glad you came’ he helped her out of the car.
    ‘Thanks, dear, I told you I’d come’ she said.
    ‘You look beautiful this morning, tell me your secret’ he admired her dressing; that was the first time he was seeing her wear a hijab.
    ‘Nothing, I should be asking you that, why do you look so happy?’ She waved him off.
    ‘Because of you’ Obinna paused and stared into her eyes. She was every inch regal and lovely in her black ensemble. She wore a black top on a pair of black jeans, with a short length hijab that fell on her neck. Her eyes were lined with Khol, the blackness of them made her orbs very sexy and he was drawn to them. Her lips seemed fuller underneath her bright red lipstick. Iman looked like an Egyptian goddess and he found it difficult to resist her beauty.
    ‘Obinna…’her voice fled as she returned his piercing gaze. His eyes bored deep into her soul and sent tiny sweet shivers down her spine. She felt weak and strong at the same time, she tried to pull her eyes away from his gaze but couldn’t. Was this magic? Was this love?

    Episode Twenty Four(Final)

    She felt weak and strong at the same time, she tried to pull her eyes away from his gaze but couldn’t. Was this magic? Was this love?
    He licked his lips slightly, then moved closer to her. While staring into her eyes, only one thought plagued him.
    ‘Obinna’ she moaned as his lips fell on hers. She didn’t resist, didn’t struggle, she gave in to this passionate embrace.
    Her lips tasted sweet, her perfume smelt nice, everything was a mix of goodness. Iman was fine wine and he wanted to drink all of her.
    She relished his kiss fully, she loved the feel of his hard and wet mouth on hers. Her hands gently caressed his shoulders and urged him on. Nothing could stop them now, they were engrossed in this moment, it was theirs.
    ‘Let’s go to your room’ she broke the kiss, her eyes were clouded with passion and desire for him.
    ‘Iman, I am sorry’ he moved away as he realized he’d kissed her without her consent.
    ‘Sorry? I don’t understand’ she said.
    ‘I had no right to kiss you like that, what if you belong to someone else’ he shrugged and moved an inch backward.
    ‘Someone else?’ She still felt lost.
    ‘You must have a man, someone richer and better than I am. You are from a very wealthy home, I can never be good enough’ he confessed. Even while dating Nkoli, he had never kissed her so deeply, so passionately. He had been lying to himself, he had fallen in love with an angel.
    ‘Wait, I don’t have a boyfriend Obinna if that’s what you’re asking’ she swallowed. Why would he say such things? Did he have feelings for her?
    ‘Iman’ her words gave him hope and scared him too. Was it right to tell her about his feelings?
    ‘Yes,’ she waited patiently.
    ‘From the first day you came into my life, you’ve been nothing but happiness. You are an angel. I owe you my progress and everything. Thank you so much’ he fetched a little box from his pocket and handed it to her.
    ‘Oh, thank you’ her heart fell. She thought he would tell her he had feelings for her. Her expectations scared her too, why was she being so desperate?
    ‘Do you like it?’ he searched her eyes. The lovely pebbles placed more sweet mundane thoughts into his heart.
    ‘Yes I do’ she forced a smile.
    ‘And you don’t owe me a thing. Thank God for everything’ she corrected him and dropped the box in her car.
    ‘Okay’ he took a deep breath, he was about to do something else. Something that could damage their friendship.
    He was sure of his feelings now; he loved Iman and needed her by his side.
    ‘I have to go now, I had a date with Narissa, I’ll see you later’ she moved to the car.
    ‘Not yet’ he pulled her roughly towards him.
    ‘What are you doing?’ Her eyes widened in shock.
    ‘Kissing the daylight out of you so you won’t have the energy to resist when I pop the question’ he rambled.
    ‘The question? What question?’ She wondered.
    ‘I love you Iman’ he released her as he suddenly felt nervous.
    ‘You love me?’ Tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘Yes, please don’t reject me. I know I am not good enough, just love me back’ he fell on his knees.
    ‘Please get up, you’re the perfect man for any woman. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is a fool’ she prodded him to his feet.
    ‘Does that mean you’ll accept me’? he asked.
    ‘I love you too Obinna, I have always loved you. From the very first day I saw you at the mall, I knew there was something special about you. I love you’ a tear slipped from her eyes.
    ‘I can’t believe this’ he was overjoyed.
    He wiped her tears with his hands, then whispered: ‘I’ll never make you cry, I promise.’ He then pressed his soft lips to hers.
    ‘I love you, honey’ she murmured.
    A loud sound interrupted them; they both turned and faced Asa. She was blowing a trumpet.
    ‘Found it at the back of the kitchen; apparently, the former tenants were musicians. I am sorry I ruined your moment, I wanted to play a love song’ she grinned.
    ‘Whatever’ Obinna ignored her and resumed kissing Iman.
    ‘Go get a room guys’ she shouted.
    But the lovers were too engrossed in their kiss, knee deep in an ocean of love were they that nothing and no one else mattered.
    ‘Are you sure you are ready to do this?’ Her boss asked her. Narissa had decided to return to the studio after one month. Iman was too focused on her new relationship with Obinna to indulge her.
    ‘Yes, more than ready’ she replied. Her days had been marked by boredom and loneliness, so she decided to return to work.
    ‘Good day lovely people, Narissa the hot girl is back, who missed me?’ She winked. The crowd in the studio cheered as she mounted the stage.
    She pulled a deep breath and calmed herself. She had healed totally from Ife’s betrayal; she felt free and powerful like an eagle and soar she would.
    ‘I am back and better. Today I’ll be dishing out tips on how to overcome heartbreak. I fell in love once with a devil, I thought he was an angel’ she paused as the crowd laughed.
    ‘That’s why we like you; you say it just the way it is’ a woman shouted.
    ‘Thank you Ma’am. He broke my heart, hurt my pride, tore me into pieces. I thought I couldn’t get over him but I did. You know how? By forgiving myself, by loving myself and by being around positive people who reminded me that I was still the best.
    ‘Shit! I messed up, now I have lost her’ Ife turned off his television. The past few weeks he’d spent alone was like hell. He had ended his friendship with Ekene and his other friends were overseas. He had absolutely nothing to divert his attention from Narissa.
    He thought about her whenever he slept and when he woke, the sun was a reflection of her face. For how long could he continue?
    Yes, she had told him she had forgiven him but he wasn’t satisfied with forgiveness. He yearned for something more, for something concrete. Love. Yes, Love was a rock on which other emotions were built, on which life itself was built.
    He poured himself his sixth glass of Chamdor. ‘I guess I learnt my lesson the hard way’ he groaned.
    Ife had learnt, that unlike some, love could only meet you once and when it left, it would leave you awe struck and glued to her. He had lost Narissa due to his foolishness and there was no way she could ever love him again.
    The Narissa he saw on television was different; hardened, purposeful and had gotten over him totally.
    He’d lost.
    ‘That’s my friend up there, so proud of you baby!’ Iman screamed as she glued her eyes to the television.
    ‘Yes, she is real good’ Obinna returned with a glass of water for her.
    ‘Thanks’ she gulped the water greedily.
    ‘When you have a good partner, value them and hold them tight’ that was Narissa’s closing words for that episode.
    ‘I love you Obinna’ Iman said as the words ate deep into her soul.
    ‘I’ll always love you’ Obinna cupped her face in his hands.
    ‘You are precious to me and I mean it. No man has ever loved me this way. I feel you’re my soulmate’ she said.
    ‘And no woman has ever loved me this way’ he replied.
    ‘About the soul mate thing, we can find out for real if we are meant for each other’ he grinned.
    ‘How?’ She thought she saw a glint of mischief in his eyes. What was he up to?
    ‘This’ he cupped her silky breasts in his hands and placed numerous kisses on her neck.
    ‘Let’s make love, let’s eat love, let’s breathe love’ he murmured as his hands expertly found her button.
    ‘I love you Obi…’ she gave in to the intoxication of his lips.

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