Story: Revenge Card Season 1


    Episode One

     “I like this dress, looks good on you” he offered her a seat.
    “Here, 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.
    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 unexpected; 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 close to him and kissed her harder, a gentle cry escaped her lips.
    Slowly, his hands found the zipper of her gown and worked 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 at her naked body.

    “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 and 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 whispered.
    He looked into her eyes for a moment; he needed to make this very convincing.
    Then his wet mouth swallowed a hard tit and he fed hungrily on it, her moans increased. This further fanned 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 will make you feel very special” he parted her legs and begun to rock her like a wild horse.
    Narissa had not 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 backside 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 have 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 f**ked 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.
    Narissa took off the head phones and stepped outside the studio; her best friend was calling, she couldn’t miss the call.
    ‘Where are you off to Rissa? You’ll keep your fans hungry’ her boss called after her.
    ‘Give me two minutes, this call is important’ she yelled back and trudged a distance away from the studio.
    It had been a month since she resumed work; she discovered she missed her job and the thrills that came with it. Dishing out relationship advice was something she loved to do, you learnt also by teaching others.
    ‘Hello dear, how are you?’ She placed the phone against her ears. Iman was her best friend and nothing could change that. Her relationship with Obinna had gotten serious.
    ‘You sound dull, are you okay Iman?’ She repeated.
    ‘No Narissa, I am scared. I think I have made a mistake that could cost my relationship’ she stammered.
    ‘A mistake? What did you do? Did you cheat on Obinna? What mistake are you talking about?’ Narissa wondered.
    ‘I am pregnant Rissa, what should I do? I am scared of having an abortion’ Iman cried over the phone.
    ‘Hey, calm down and stop making a fuss.You apparently have not told Obinna yet, so tell him first and let’s see what happens’ Narissa advised.
    ‘Okay, thank you’ Iman replied, then burst out with laughter.
    ‘Iman? What’s wrong? Why are you laughing?’ Narissa was confused.
    ‘I pranked your ass! April fool!’ Iman yelled over the phone.
    ‘Wow, I work so hard that I forget dates! You really got me this time Iman, I owe you one’ Narissa let out the breath she had been holding. The thought of a pregnant Iman sent shivers down her spine, what if Obinna changed after the pregnancy? Her friend’s man was a good and loving person, so was Ife, the man she had once loved. Men couldn’t be trusted.

    Episode Two

    Her friend’s man was a good and loving person, so was Ife, the man she had once loved. Men couldn’t be trusted.
    ‘I hear you. Meanwhile, we haven’t hung out in a long time Rissa, I miss those days’ Iman sighed.
    ‘I miss it too, but you know I love my job…’ Narissa trailed off as one of the studio attendants rushed towards her.
    ‘Excuse me Narissa, the boss wants you now; a very important person has come to see you, we must not keep him waiting’ the studio attendant said.
    ‘Alright, I’ll be there in a minute’ she shooed him.
    ‘You don’t love your job more than a man Rissa. You still haven’t gotten over Ife and what he did; you cannot hate all men because of that miserable piece of shit. Open up your heart, love can find you again’ Iman advised.
    ‘Really? Beautiful words sis, you sound just like Edna my stepmother. I need to run, we’ll talk later. Give my love to Obinna’ she blew her a kiss.
    ‘Received. Bye bestie’ Iman replied.
    ‘Wow’ Narissa drew a breath, she always felt happiness well up inside her whenever she spoke with her best friend. Iman was closer to her than a friend, they were sisters.
    She lifted her phone and stared at the screen to check if she was okay and presentable enough for this important person. The picture she saw there was perfect as usual.
    Narissa was a hot girl like her nickname implied. Today, she wore denim shorts that revealed fine fresh laps and straight legs; her hips bulged out enormously in the ensemble. She wore a deep green top that complimented her very light skin; her face was make-up free as she’d decided to go natural. That didn’t hide her beauty at all; her long black hair fell carelessly on her shoulders.
    ‘Here she comes, Narissa the hot girl’ her boss beckoned her to meet the person. She hadn’t seen his face because he backed her but whoever it was seemed very familiar, almost like the man who dumped her, Ife.
    Ife Martins was the wealthiest bachelor in town; he was a cutie too, the reason women drooled over him.  He had gotten into a bet with his former best friend Ekene to sleep with Narissa the hot girl and he’d won. Everything that happened led to his losing Narissa. By the time he realized how important she was to him, it was already too late.
    He’d thought he could easily get over Narissa but he couldn’t, it wasn’t easy letting go of someone you had come to love.
    That’s why he was doing this; he needed to take this risk, he needed Narissa in his life.
    After his interview with Sunshine Spring Media, he thought of no other but her.
    ‘Ife? What are you doing here?’ She whispered his name. He could sense surprise and anger in her voice, and that scared him.
    ‘Rissa’ he took a deep breath and faced her.
    ‘Oh, you two know each other? We better give you privacy then. Everybody, let’s stay outside. We’ll return once they are done’ her boss trotted out with the rest of the crew.
    ‘What are you doing here? Are you stalking me now?’ Narissa composed herself. She felt like banging his head against the wall after the way he had treated her.
    ‘Rissa, please just hear me out. I am so sorry’ he fell on his knees. He couldn’t hold it anymore, the feelings he had for her were killing him.
    ‘We are done talking Ife Martins. Just get the hell up and get out of my studio’ she yelled angrily at him.
    Hadn’t he done enough? He had broken her heart and humiliated her, what more did he want?
    ‘Please, forgive me Narissa. I love you so much, please give me another chance. I am sorry for the way I hurt you, for the way I humiliated you, please’ he begged.
    ‘You are a comedian. Love? Do you speak of love? Do you know what I went through? You broke my heart, Ife. You tore my self-esteem into shreds, you used me, played with my heart and now you speak of love. You know nothing about love, neither do you know about pain’ she hissed angrily.
    ‘I agree. I did all those things to you but I am sorry. I promise to make you happy, just give me a chance Narissa’ he begged.
    ‘Well, your chance is over. I have a new boyfriend now. Move on with your life Ife, go on, leave me alone!’ she said.
    ‘You have a boyfriend?’ It was like a blade seared his heart. If she had fallen in love with someone else, it meant there wasn’t any hope for him.
    ‘Yes, that’s why you need to leave me the hell alone, my boyfriend is very jealous, if he sees us together, he will be mad. Respect that Ife’ she cautioned him.
    ‘Okay, I would never disturb you again’ he rose to his feet.
    ‘But promise me one thing, Rissa’ he stared into her eyes, she still seemed sad. Was her new boyfriend not good enough for her? He needed to find out more from Lavender, his little spy.
    ‘What?’ She widened her eyes.
    Ife said nothing. He simply stared at her beautiful eyes and the seducing glow in them, then leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss on her lips.
    ‘Get off of me you brute!’ She slapped him and pushed him away.
    ‘You love me, you still love me’ he felt it when he kissed her.
    ‘You’re delusional; you need a medic and fast. I am in love with my boyfriend so stay away’ she hissed and marched out of the room.
    ‘Alright, have a good day, beautiful one’ Ife felt happy. He wasn’t a fool, he knew what he felt during the brief kiss. He felt hope that Narissa could actually forgive him and take him back. But his hope quickly dwindled, it melted away like a rose underneath the scorching sun and he was right back to where he started. Nowhere.
    As he left the room for his car, he spotted Narissa kissing a guy. His heart sank as he rushed out of the area, he couldn’t bear to see another man touching her. Jealousy raged in him but he couldn’t blame any other but himself. He had been a fool.

    Episode Three

    As he left the room for his car, he spotted Narissa kissing a guy. His heart sank as he rushed out of the area, he couldn’t bear to see another man touching her. Jealousy raged in him but he couldn’t blame any other but himself. He had been a fool.
    ‘You can stop now, he is gone’ Jason, the  technical guy, pulled away from her.
    ‘Sorry about that’ she broke the kiss.
    ‘Are you kidding? This is the happiest day of my life, being kissed by the most beautiful woman in the world’ he grinned.
    ‘So you aren’t angry that I kissed you without permission?’ She raised her brows.
    ‘You can always do that again’ he winked.
    ‘Thanks, Jason, you don’t know what you have done for me’ she muttered to herself.
    ‘Hi guys, I saw you two kissing. Are you an item now?’ The studio attendant, Lavender marched to meet them. Lavender wasn’t  very much liked around there, she was talkative, she never seemed to mind her business and she was annoyingly opinionated.
    ‘Nothing happened, you saw wrong’ Narissa eyed her sternly, why couldn’t she mind her business?
    ‘Wow, Jason?’ She turned to the electrical engineer.
    ‘Yea, Narissa is right. You saw nothing’ he winked and trotted away. Everyone avoided “Lavvy” as she was fondly called, Lavvy was a bomb waiting to explode.
    ‘If you are done staring at me, you can get back to the studio’ Narissa hissed angrily and walked away from her.
    ‘I didn’t mean to upset you’ Lavender apologized but the angry celebrity had already left.
    ‘Stupid loud mouthed radio’ Narissa cursed. She knew deep within that Lavvy wasn’t the cause of her anger, Ife was. Why had he kissed her? His kiss had ignited a fire she didn’t know still existed within her. She had fought hard for self-control to resist the familiar sweetness of his luscious lips.
    He had made her vulnerable; torn her defenses apart and left her to sweet suffering. He had opened her up and sought to see her reaction to his charms. A smile played on her lips; she had done the smartest thing ever. She lied. She painted an imaginary boyfriend and Ife bought it hook, line and sinker. She had seen the jealousy that flared up in his brute eyes; it could tear a whole town down. A raging inferno it was.
    She was quite sure of this; Ife was hurting, just like she had hurt when he dumped her. That thought gave her satisfaction and joy. Now he knew she had a “boyfriend” and had found her kissing a guy, she was sure Ife would leave her alone.
    ‘What kept you guys so long in there?’ Her boss asked.
    ‘Nothing. We had an old score to settle’ she joined them in the studio.
    ‘I hoped you have settled it. Ife Martins is such a fine man; if I had a daughter, I’ll make sure he married her’ the woman joked.
    ‘I always appreciate your good sense of humor’ Narissa laughed dryly. Even her own laughter sounded strange to her ears and she wondered if she had truly gotten over Ife Martins.
    Working in a multi dollar company as theirs, Methocorp, had a way of sapping one’s energy.
    ‘You look flushed’ his father handed him a beer.
    ‘I feel worse, I’ve been stressed out of my ass’ Ife sneered as he sat next to his father.
    ‘Yes you have’ the old man opened his can and gulped the dirty brown liquid greedily.
    His son who seldom visited had spent more than three weeks with him; Ifeoluwa was his only son; his mother had died while he was still a baby and that had caused them both to be very connected to each other. He could read Ife like a book.
    ‘Are you okay?’ He asked his son.
    ‘What?’ Ife down the can of chilled beer, his father’s question sounded strange to him.
    ‘You heard me. You aren’t yourself, what’s happening? Is the company in debt?’ The old man asked.
    Ife was silent for a while, then drew a deep breath.
    ‘The company is fine, everyone is working to make sure of that’ he replied wondering what gave the old man that impression.
    ‘Sure? You aren’t yourself Ife. You have stayed right here with me for more than a week; you neither club nor hang out anymore. You work and sleep. It seems you are a depressed son, please talk to me. I’ll love to help’ he was concerned for his son.
    ‘I…am okay’ Ife rose to his feet.
    ‘No you are not, did someone break your heart?’
    ‘Even if I said yes, you know nothing about heartbreak dad. You and mum had a happy marriage like people tell me’ he shrugged.
    ‘Really? Your mother and I were very happy till death took her away but people always fail in their analysis. We didn’t just wake up in a garden of Eden. I am no Adam and she was no Eve. We were very imperfect, we worked hard to achieve perfection. Do you know how long it took me to convince your mother that I was the right man for her?’ He asked, then chuckled as he recalled the good old days.
    ‘A week perhaps?’ Ife raised his brow. His father had never told him this story.
    ‘Five years’ his father said.
    ‘Five years? You’re serious’ Ife dropped his briefcase and took a seat, ready to learn more.
    ‘Yes, I am. I met her when she was Twenty-six years old, we got married when she was thirty-two. Your mother never wanted me despite the fact that I was wealthy; she saw my wealth as nothing and that bruised my ego. She chose other men over me but I never let go because I loved her. So you see my son, I know what it means to be rejected by a woman because your mother rejected me once’ he narrated his experience.

    Episode Four

    She chose other men over me but I never let go because I loved her. So you see my son, I know what it means to be rejected by a woman because your mother rejected me once’ he narrated his experience.
    ‘Your case was different, you were never mean to her’ Ife inhaled deeply as he recalled how he’d hurt Narissa.
    ‘Son, it doesn’t matter who hurt who. If you really love this woman, you should fight for her even when it means playing chicken. Love is a battlefield, only the fittest survive’ the old man patted his shoulder.
    ‘By the way, you never really told me what happened that day between you and Narissa’ the man had never asked.
    ‘We’ll talk about that later, dad’ Ife left for his room. He suddenly felt ashamed of himself, he had been so harsh to a woman who had done nothing but loved him passionately; how different was he from men that beat up women? Instead of his hands, he had bruised her with his tongue and he would pay for it now.
    ‘I will fight for you Narissa. I will fight’ he dropped his briefcase and fetched his phone. Pictures of her kissing her boyfriend flashed through his brain as he thought of ways to get her back.
    ‘Pick up Lavvy, pick up’ he dialed her number. He had bumped into this young girl who worked at Narissa’s office at a club; he had promised to pay her well if she helped him get closer to Narissa. Lavender had been the one that had set up his meeting with Narissa today.
    ‘Damn’ he quickly typed a message and settled on his bed. Heart break was the worst pain ever and he never dreamt he would experience it.
    Lavender had met the city’s finest bachelor by luck; she had quickly introduced herself to Ife Martins, hoping to get into his good books but she got something more. He had offered her a very juicy deal, one that would enable her to kill two birds with one stone.
    First, the deal would enrich her greatly.
    Second, it would get her close to fulfilling her dreams of getting married to a very wealthy man.
    ‘You’re so sweet and moist’ Jason bent her over and rammed his shaft into her.
    ‘Go ahead baby, take me however you like’ she groaned as Jason rocked her from behind.
    Her job was to spy on Narissa the hot girl, one of the numerous celebrities they served every day. Ife Martins was in love with her, she could tell from the way he made inquiries about the television personality but that didn’t hurt her at all. She was a very patient bird, she would wait her turn.
    ‘My phone is ringing, I need to take the call’ Lavender arched her back up and pushed Jason away.
    ‘Really? Now?’ He stared at his hard member.
    ‘Give me two minutes, I’ll be back’ she winked and slid into her bathroom, Ife was the caller.
    ‘Alright,’ Jason rolled on the bed. Lavender had come to him in the studio, telling him about her crush on him; he had been very surprised as she had never shown any signs of interest in him.
    But who would decline an offer of free sex? Lavender was beautiful and good in bed too.
    ‘Good evening darling’ she drawled as she placed the phone against her ears.
    ‘Lavender, I need your help’ Ife paused, he’d come up with a perfect plan.
    ‘You pay for information boss, so I am at your service’ Lavender gave a soft laugh.
    ‘Alright. Find out everything about Narissa’s boyfriend, check out his profile’ Ife instructed.
    ‘I am already on it as we speak’ she replied. Jason was in her full custody and she wouldn’t stop till she got the information she needed from him.
    ‘Good. Call me if you need anything pertaining to this job, I am here to offer any assistance’ Ife said
    ‘As you wish’ she sighed and ended the call.
    ‘Step one, get the animal talking’ she drew a breath and returned to her bedroom. She had never done something like this before, Ife was in love with Narissa but it seemed she was allergic to his charms, what right girl in her right man will reject a man as Ife?
    ‘Come here baby, I need you right now’ Jason widened his arms ready to accept her.
    ‘Not so quick lover boy’ she stopped and watched him.
    ‘I don’t understand, wasn’t I good enough? Don’t you like it gentle? Should I be rough?’ He narrowed his brows in confusion.
    ‘Well, I like it rough but I’ll like us to talk first’ Lavvy pulled a chair and sat on it, cross-legged.
    ‘Really? Right now?’ Jason rolled his eyes. He should’ve known she wanted something, girls like Lavender weren’t easy to lay.
    ‘Men like pussy and for that, they pay heavily, but you aren’t going to pay me. I need just one thing from you’ she started.
    ‘What?’ Jason wondered.
    ‘How long have you been in a relationship with Narissa the hot girl?’ She blurted out.
    ‘Seriously?’ Jason scoffed, why would she assume he was dating Narissa. Narissa was way above his league. She was a princess and only a prince could court her.
    ‘Yes. I won’t tell her about our little affair, just be honest with me’ Lavvy winked and parted her legs; she was one hell of a seductress.
    ‘Um…’ Jason’s eyes focused on the point between her legs.
    ‘I am waiting’ she crossed them again.
    ‘I am not dating Narissa’ Jason replied coolly.
    ‘Try again’ she bit her lip. She had never known Jason to be a secretive person.
    ‘I am not lying. Wait, is this about the kiss? Why are you so interested in Narissa anyway?’ Jason searched the bed for his clothes, he was getting uncomfortable with Lavvy.
    ‘Narissa is an adult, she has a right to do whatever she wants; her personal life is not our concern. I have to go now’ he slipped on his clothes.
    ‘So you aren’t dating her’ Lavvy sighed. It was more of an observation than a question, she knew Jason was telling the truth; but if they weren’t dating, why did Narissa kiss him? Dead end. She was back to square one. She needed to get more information about Narrissa, maybe Ife had something he was holding back, she needed to see him.
    ‘You don’t have to go, stay with me tonight Jason. I promise not to ask any more questions if you promise to keep this between us’ she rose to her feet and caressed his slightly rumpled shirt.
    ‘Are you sure about that Lavvy?’ He asked.
    ‘Let’s see’ she raised herself up and planted a kiss on his lips.

    Episode Five

    ‘Are you sure about that Lavvy?’ He asked.
    ‘Let’s see’ she raised herself up and planted a kiss on his lips.

    Today was the first of April and the rains had increased from light showers to medium; the wind danced with her curtains; it refreshed the air and the stench of earth mixed with rain water dangled between her nostrils as she stared outside from her window.
    ‘April fool’ a smile played on her lips as she thought about Iman’s joke. Her friend was luckier than she was when it came to love. She had even been the one to speak ill of Obinna but he turned out to be different.
    She missed her friend and hoped they found time to hang out soon.
    Being alone wasn’t that fun; she had no other friend save for Iman. Being a celebrity came with its disadvantages and its perks. She couldn’t keep just anyone as a friend, she needed to trust her friends completely and only Iman fit all her qualities for a friend.
    ‘I guess I could try out GOT’ she left for her living room, what better way to get Ife Martins out of her mind than watching the trending series?
    He had guts, real guts to show up at her office like that. She still felt confused and surprised by the way he still affected her. She had thought herself immune to him but when he showed up looking all sexy, the wound he had inflicted upon her bled afresh.
    ‘I hate him so much, I hate you, Ife Martins. You ruined me and took away my happiness!’ She threw the remote on the couch and turned off the television. Why was Ife bent on destroying her? She had suffered for a while and managed to pull through without him; he suddenly showed up and reminded her of everything.
    While contemplating several ways to deal effectively with him, her phone rang.
    ‘Just in time’ she took the call, it was her father.
    ‘Dad? Good evening’ a smile warmed her face.
    ‘My angel, it’s been long, you promised to visit more often’ her father said.
    ‘I am sorry dad; you know I have started working again. Studio sessions kill my time. I promise to see you before this week ends’ she said.
    ‘Good, you should. I miss you darling’ he paused.
    ‘Is everything okay? How’s Edna by the way?’ Narissa heard some commotion in the background; she was gradually warming up to her step mother.
    ‘Oh, she is giving the new driver instructions, will you speak to her?’
    ‘I’ll come over the house tomorrow, send my greetings to her’ Narissa differed.
    ‘Night dear, will be expecting you.’
    She felt better after speaking with her father; paying her parents a visit would take her mind off so many things. She decided to go back to GOT, she moved to the kitchen and made herself coffee, then turned on the television.
    Surprisingly, Ife was being interviewed by Sunshine Spring Media, on a business talk show.
    ‘Damn! Why do I have to see him everywhere?’ She slammed the remote on the table, turned off the television and left for her bed. Ife Martins was haunting her.
    His morning started as he heard a loud noise coming from the kitchen; he couldn’t complain, living with his father was synonymous to living with noise pollution.
    He had his house but he was tired of staying in such a cold and empty environment.
    Ife slowly dragged himself out of bed; Methocorp was undergoing Media assessment and that meant his presence as the C.E.O was seriously needed. About five media companies had requested interviews with him, Methocorp was the largest company in Nigeria and Africa, any media company that had the opportunity of having a one-on-one with him, would directly be pulling more fans for themselves.
    He had attended the interview with Sunshine Spring Media, there were four more to go. He needed rest but his father wasn’t helping matters.
    ‘What are you doing dad?’ He dragged himself off bed and strolled to the kitchen, the center of all the noise.
    ‘Dad…?’ He called gently but the old man was too busy dancing to Jay Z’s “Forever young” to hear him, the noise from the grinder further drowned his voice.
    So he had no option but to shout ‘Dad!’
    ‘Oh, good morning son, how are you?’ The man turned off the sound system and the grinder at once.
    ‘Too much noise isn’t good for the ears dad, you should know that’ Ife pulled open the fridge and poured himself a glass of water.
    ‘Wow, look how grown you are, dishing your old man advice’ the man chuckled.
    ‘Well, you are my father and I care about your well being’ he replied.
    ‘Thanks. You make me very proud son. You are the most hard working and intelligent young man I know’ the man praised him.
    ‘Thanks, dad’ Ife smiled. Such high praise from his father that early meant his day would be beautiful.
    ‘I saw you on television this morning’ the man paused.
    ‘You did?’ He was surprised; he had not expected the show to be aired so quickly.
    ‘Yes, National television. You did me, proud son, that’s why I needed to prepare something very nice for you, Tomato Juice and raw egg white. Very yummy and nutritious’ the man winked.
    ‘Wow,’ Ife grinned sheepishly. He imagined what such a deadly combination would taste like, he felt like throwing up at the thought.
    ‘Are you ready to take it now? Scientists also say it is good for sexually active young men and limits possibilities of prostate cancer’ his father listed the benefits of drinking the concoction.
    ‘I’m sorry dad, I am fasting’ he replied.
    ‘Fasting? I can’t remember the last time I heard you pray’ the man raised his brow.
    ‘Uhmm, I am running late, I need to prepare for work’ He rushed out of the kitchen before his dad cajoled him to drink his tomato juice.
    ‘Phew,’ he sighed and climbed his bed, his hands curled on his phones immediately.
    I checked her out, turns out the guy you saw her kissing isn’t her boyfriend. We should meet soon. Is there something you aren’t telling me?
     Ife’s eyes lit as he read the message from Lavvy, was that possible? Narissa didn’t seem the type to kiss a random guy.
    ‘Oh my God…’ he trailed, what if she was only trying to get him jealous, what if she didn’t have any boyfriend after all?
    It was going to be a good day; he needed to meet up with Lavvy so he’d know the next step to take.

    Episode Six

    It was going to be a good day; he needed to meet up with Lavvy so he’d know the next step to take.
    She wasn’t feeling particularly motivated that morning, so she had dressed a little dull. She wore an ash colored trouser suit and her makeup was gothic themed. She wore black lipstick, darkened her eyelids with dark colored shadow and darkened her brows; she was a beautiful monster.
    Narissa walked into the studio in low spirits; seeing her ex-lover again had thrown her off balance and she briefly wondered if she could ever be herself.
    As she got closer to her office, all thoughts of Ife fled away; there seemed to be a problem in the office, what was happening?
    ‘Here she is!’ She heard Lavender call her name, now what was that about?
    ‘Come on here darling, you could get us a spot on this juicy deal’ her boss beckoned to her.
    ‘Good morning madam, good morning everybody’ she waved at the studio attendants.
    ‘Morning Pretty’ they returned her greetings. Some nodded, some returned a wave, others simply acknowledged her greeting with a smile.
    ‘What’s going on?’ She turned to her boss.
    ‘Tell her Lavvy, I am too excited to talk. I know with your help, we are getting a spot on the Methocorp media assessment sessions’ her boss was all smiles.
    ‘Lavvy?’ Narissa faced her.
    ‘Methocorp is owned by the finest bachelor in town, Ife Martins…’ she rubbed her hands together, she had not seen this one coming and was surprised Ife had not shared this piece of information with her. But it wasn’t really any of her business, what bonded her with Ife was getting information on Narissa. She was nothing to him but a paid spy.
    ‘I already know a lot about Methocorp, I don’t live in a cave’ Narissa cut in impatiently.
    ‘Good. The Multibillion Naira company is having her Media assessment sessions, these talk shows are meant to give the public more information on Methocorp; they also promote the media companies that host the sessions’ Lavender explained.
    ‘So?’ Narissa raised her brows not understanding where her boss’ excitement came from.
    ‘Five top media companies were chosen for the interview sessions; sadly, we weren’t chosen’ Lavvy paused.
    ‘Good. Next year we may be chosen’ Narissa forced a smile and walked out of the studio towards her office.
    ‘You’re not getting the point, are you?’ Lavender scoffed.
    ‘And what is that?’ She stopped.
    ‘We need you to speak with Ife Martins, beg him and put in a good word for our company. We need this job to get to the top’ Lavender said.
    ‘Beg him? I would never do something like that. I guess he had good reasons for keeping our company out of his little program. My show has promoted this media company for three years now and my fan base has just increased, so why do we need Methocorp?’ She couldn’t believe her ears.
    Suddenly the murmurings stopped; at that moment, silence overthrew noise and music.
    ‘What is it?’ She read a bleak expression on their faces.
    ‘I knew you might prove stubborn Narissa so your show has been canceled’ her boss stopped grinning and cut in.
    ‘What? How can you cancel my show? That wasn’t the agreement, how does my show relate to Methocorp’s assessment?’ She couldn’t believe her ears.
    ‘Can’t you see that we need to take this company to the next level? I know you have a huge fan base, I am not disputing that very fact but do you also know that this company spends a huge sum of money promoting your shows? We need more attention from Multibillion corporations as Methocorp, which is the largest in Africa. We need Ife Martins here Narissa. I know you are a big person but Methocorp is bigger’ her boss explained.
    ‘Really? And if I don’t talk to Ife about this?’ Narrisa clenched her jaw tightly. She hated threats and preferred going against them.
    ‘You could lose your job’ her boss replied flatly.
    ‘I still can’t believe this, it’s all a dream’ Narissa hissed angrily and stormed out of the studio.
    She needed to speak with someone, else, she would run mad. Once again, he had ruined her; if he had not showed up in her office, her boss wouldn’t have come to the conclusion that she was good friends with Ife Martins. Now all ends of the fabric were let loose and she was supposed to play seamstress.
    ‘Are you sure you’re doing the right thing ma? What if you push her too far? Narissa is a hot venture and many media companies would pick her up if you let her go’ Lavender turned to her boss, she had not expected the woman to carry out her plans so determinedly.
    ‘Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that. It seems I misjudged those two, maybe Ife and Narissa aren’t that close; but I want her to do this for us, for our company. Narissa can be stubborn at a time, we have all seen her display her stubbornness at one point or the other. If she refuses to listen to her make-up artist, she’ll deliberately ignore the directors or snub anyone who tries to add ideas. She’ll come around, I know she will’ the plump woman rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
    ‘I pray she does’ Lavvy lifted her phone. She had sent Ife a message earlier, he had just replied.
    ‘Can we do it in the bathroom? I hear bathroom sex is hot.’ Jason had crept up behind her.
    ‘Jason! You scared me’ she swirled around and faced him.
    ‘So, what do you say?’ He quickly looked around to be sure no one was looking and he grabbed her ass.
    ‘Sorry, we can never do this again’ Lavvy pushed his hand away.
    ‘Why?’ He felt disappointed.
    ‘Nothing. We had good sex last night but it ends there’ Lavvy replied defiantly.
    ‘Really? And when did you start writing the rules? You better give me a taste of that ass or else, I’ll tell Narissa you’ve been spying on her’ he threatened.
    ‘Hey, you cannot do that. You can never tell Narissa about those questions I asked’ Lavvy felt defeated.
    ‘Then let’s fuck in the bathroom’ he grabbed her ass once again then prodded her forward.
    ‘Okay’ she whispered and followed him. This was part of her job, keeping her cover.
    There was no better place to cool her head than her father’s, at least she would get distracted by his old jokes and gist once she got there. She quickly texted Iman to set up a date whenever she was free; Iman was the only person that could relate to her current situation.
    How could her boss threaten to sack her after three years of service? All because of Methocorp?

    Episode Seven

    How could her boss threaten to sack her after three years of service? All because of Methocorp?
    ‘You are big but Methocorp is bigger’ the woman’s words still rang in her ears.
    ‘I guess she meant to say, you are big but Ife is bigger’ Narissa murmured as she ignited her engine. The woman was a chameleon and had revealed one of her many colors; yellow, the color of greed.
    She played Sia and blasted the streets she drove past with Kendrick Lamar but nothing seemed to keep the thought of seeing Ife’s face light up with satisfaction if she ever went to beg him on behalf of the company.
    ‘I will never beg you Ife, not in this life, I’d rather lose my job’ she muttered to herself as she arrived her father’s compound.
    ‘You showed up eventually! I miss you my baby girl’ he rose to his feet and sauntered towards the parking space.
    ‘Dad, I always keep my promises’ she stepped down from the car and hugged him.
    ‘Where’s Edna?’ She asked.
    ‘Tending to her flowers’ he snorted, his wife had a garden.
    ‘Ok and what have you been up to, old man?’ She rubbed his arm gently.
    ‘Reading the papers’ he replied.
    ‘Nice one dad, I am very happy to see you’ she repeated, then took a seat next to him.
    ‘Have you heard about the Methocorp media assessment sessions? It’s the biggest thing in Africa; never listened to something that powerful’ he began.
    ‘Oh, I just learnt about it this morning’ She relaxed herself waiting to hear something about Ife, the guy followed her everywhere.
    ‘That young man is dynamic, so intelligent, just like Martins his father’ the old man paused as he noticed his daughter wore a frown.
    ‘You never really told us what happened between you and that young man Rissa. Are you ready to talk about it now?’ Her father asked.
    ‘No, let me see Edna in the garden, I’ll join you shortly’ she gave the old hands a squeeze and a polite smile, then left for the garden to greet her step mother who was fast becoming her favorite person.
    Her walk towards the garden was slow, contemplating. A wide variety of flowers, scents, and insects welcomed her as she stepped into the garden, the view was heavenly.
    ‘You should stop staring, come and take a rose’ her step mother stopped weeding and stood up.
    ‘Good afternoon Edna’ Narissa moved towards her.
    ‘Afternoon dear, do you prefer roses or lilies? Come check my flowers out, take any you like’ Edna was happy to see her step daughter.
    ‘No, I favor Pansies’ She bent and plucked the little blue heads.
    ‘Are you okay?’ The woman asked. She noticed Narissa looked dull, was it the dark makeup or a bad mood?
    ‘I…am fine’ Narissa replied.
    ‘Well, if you have to stutter before answering, you are not fine. Do you want to talk about it?’ Edna asked. She felt growing concern for the young woman.
    ‘No, work related issues’ She shook her head.
    ‘Okay then. I heard you drive in so I sent someone to get you something special, from my farm’ Edna’s eyes strayed to her driver who walked into the garden with the honey combs.
    ‘What special thing could that be?’ Narissa smiled and followed Edna’s gaze, it fell on a familiar face.
    ‘Ekene?’ She remembered Ife’s friend that had spoken rudely to her on phone.
    ‘Narissa’ surprise shook his hands like thunder and he dropped the carton that housed the honey combs.
    He had texted her his office address, he was still knee deep in the media sessions so he didn’t need to be far from his company.
    ‘If you are done staring at the streets, you can take a seat and we’ll talk about this spying mission of mine’ Lavvy called out to him. She had spent about thirty minutes in Ife’s office and all that time, he had said nothing to her; he simply backed her and stared out the window.
    ‘What do you want me to say Lavvy?’ He fetched a bottle of wine from his cellar and poured some for both of them.
    ‘Tell me, why you want information on Narissa? If I must serve you well, I need your complete honesty and trust in me’ Lavvy sipped from her cup, the sweetness stung the tip of her tongue and had her yearning for more.
    ‘Maybe you should leave that out and focus on your job’ Ife cut in.
    ‘I guess that’s why you’d never have her, you’re rude for one’ Lavvy put down the glass and clasped her hands together.
    ‘Don’t say that Narissa will come back to me’ his heart raced at the thought of her rejection.
    ‘Good. Question answered. You have feelings for her and from the way you speak, it seems you two had something before now. Did something bad happen to break the sweet thing you had going?’ She raised her brows.
     Ife drew in a steady breath, scanned the features of the lady he had employed to spy on Narissa. Did she have any ill motive? You couldn’t trust anyone completely.
    ‘We dated once; I wasn’t in love with her. I was a brute, broke her heart and ended the relationship. I fell in love with her right after that. The problem now is that she doesn’t want me back’ he decided to trust her. She had no ill motive from his assessment.
    ‘Good. So you intend to get her back but she is proving stubborn. Who wouldn’t? You must have bruised her ego too’ Lavvy drank some more.
    ‘I did a terrible thing, how can we fix this?’ He sounded desperate.
    ‘Do you think Narissa is still in love with you?’ Lavvy asked coolly, she was working on a plan, right there.
    ‘Yes, you told me the guy she kissed wasn’t her boyfriend. Maybe she kissed him to get me jealous’ Ife paused as he watched her face.
    ‘What? Don’t you share my theory?’ He asked.
    ‘Not really, sounds like the thoughts of a perfect egomaniac. I am not trying to insult you Ife but we cannot be completely sure why she kissed Jason. What if her kissing him means she has feelings for him and you seeing them at that point was mere coincidence?

    Episode Eight

    What if her kissing him means she has feelings for him and you seeing them at that point was mere coincidence?

    ‘No, she kissed Jason to get me jealous’ he pressed.
    ‘I see you like your theory, we should use it then’ Lavvy suggested.
    ‘What do we do next?’ He waited patiently.
    ‘You never told me about Methocorp media assessment sessions. Our company is interested, this may be in your favor as our boss wants Narissa to “beg” you to key us in’ Lavvy said.
    ‘Really? Well, I wasn’t in charge of picking the media companies; maybe I would’ve included yours’ Ife brightened as he saw that ray of hope.
    ‘All good. Everything depends on Narissa now. Will she choose to beg you or will she prefer losing her job?’ Lavvy rose to her feet, she had the perfect plan.
    ‘What? Why would she lose her job? I can easily put your company on the list, I don’t care about due process, let me help her Lavender’ he joined her on his feet.
    ‘No! You’ll ruin my plans, you’ll make it worse for you’ she gestured with her hands.
    ‘What plans?’ He arched a brow.
    ‘Using your theory, Narissa still has feelings for you and we can only find that out if you have a girlfriend, a set up of course. You don’t have to make it real’ Lavvy suggested.
    ‘A girlfriend? Are you insane? I want to get closer to Narissa not push her farther away, I don’t like this. I pay you good money to think’ he hissed. What kind of plan was that?
    ‘Stay calm Gorgeous. If Jason is Narissa’s “boyfriend”, then you need a “girlfriend”. Her reaction to your relationship status would tell us which card to play’ Lavvy smiled proudly, confident that her plans would work out.
    ‘Fine, I don’t have any girls in mind’ Ife sank into his swivel chair reluctantly.
    ‘Find one and call me when you do. Make sure she is ten times way hotter or as hot as Narissa herself. Girls see their ex’s new girlfriends as rivals’ Lavvy advised as she moved towards the door.
    ‘I have never met any woman as pretty as Narissa’ was all he could say. He hoped Lavvy’s plan worked out.
    She stared at the back of the man she had fallen in love with; Obinna’s back faced her while he stared out the window, he was taking a phone call.
    She had never believed she could find love so sweet; love seemed to find people when they were at their lowest point in life when they had given up hope; Love came for her when all hope was gone.
    A happy smile flickered on her lush lips as she fetched her phone; she had promised her best friend a date, she missed spending time with Narissa, maybe it was time to see her again.
    As she texted her friend, she thought about all Narissa had been through in the last few months. If only she had taken her advice and stayed the hell away from Ife, she would never have gotten her heart broken by him.
    ‘Ekene has gotten a job’ Obinna announced and joined her in the bed.
    ‘Wow, that’s good for him’ Iman replied. She had come to know about Ekene’s shady deals and his nastiness to Obinna in the past but somehow, he’d changed and decided to pursue legitimate business.
    ‘I still think he is being proud, I forgave him and offered to find a job suitable for his qualification’ Obinna sighed.
    Ekene had betrayed him when he had an affair with Nkolika his ex but he’d forgiven him; he’d forgiven him all his crimes. Ekene was still his brother, still his blood.
    ‘What do you expect him to do? He isn’t proud; he is just ashamed, with the way he hurt you in the past. I’m sure he is even more ashamed that you forgave him. Just let it go darling’ Iman planted a swift kiss on his head.
    ‘Thanks, baby, you always have a way of making me feel better’ Obinna sighed. Iman had been God send to his family; she helped him get a job, a well-paying job that afforded him the chance to take care of his siblings.
    ‘So when last did you hear from Asa?’ She inquired about his younger sister.
    ‘Um, that girl has grown wings. Since she gained admission into the University, she seldom calls me’ he laughed as he thought of his baby sister.
    ‘Well, Jungle don mature’ Iman winked.
    ‘You don’t look happy, what is it?’ He noticed things easily; she couldn’t mask her pain from him.
    ‘It’s my friend Narissa; I am just so worried about her. I feel guilty too; since I moved in with you, I hardly check up on her. I am the only friend she has, I wonder how she’s coped alone all these months’ she was quite worried.
    ‘I’ve seen Narissa on T.V many times, she is a strong woman; don’t be so worried. Just call her and maybe sit out’ Obinna suggested.
    ‘I already did but I’ll miss you my love’ she snuggled next to him.
    ‘One day without me won’t kill you baby, you need to see your friend’ he kissed her.
    ‘Thanks baby, thanks for your show of concern’ she sighed and buried her face in his chest.
    A true smile played on her lips as she slid out of bed; the first thing that woke her was her buzzing phone; Iman had texted her, they were to meet that morning.
    ‘How I miss you!’ Narissa sighed and pulled the curtains to let the mild sun into her dark room.
    She realized she had really missed Iman. Before she got serious with Obinna, they used to hang out, watch movies, play games and spend a lot of time together; but all that changed once she moved in with her boyfriend.
    ‘Here we go’ she opened her wardrobe and selected what she would wear for the date. It was simple, a pair of jeans and a green top. She rushed to the bathroom and turned on the shower.
    As the water dropped on her curls, her thoughts began to sprout like new weeds. They centered around Ife, her work, and her boss. She remembered the threat issued by her boss, what if the woman really meant to sack her? Was there a better Media company to host her show? Wouldn’t that mean the death of her career?
    She thought about Ife and how satisfied he would be to see her beg for a contract.
    ‘Why does she have to humiliate me like this?’ She sighed and stepped out with her towel. Her boss was the major cause of her worries.
    She dressed quickly and left for the bar where she was to meet Iman; she couldn’t wait to tell her friend about this whole thing. Surely, Iman would have an answer to her questions.
    The drive to Rosydew was all too familiar. She had come to love the place; it was classy, clean and served a variety of cuisines.
    She banged the car door loud enough for people to turn in her direction; she was in a bad mood.
    ‘Bastard’ she clicked her tongue as she neared the bar, her problems had all begun here, right there at Rosydew; they started when she laid her eyes on Ife Martins.
    She consoled herself that she had courage. Yes, she really was a brave heart. How many women could still visit the place they had hung out with their Ex frequently? How many women could go to that same bar and order a Margarita without flinching at the onslaught of sweet old memories?

    Episode Nine

    How many women could go to that same bar and order a Margarita without flinching at the onslaught of sweet old memories?
    ‘What will you like to have ma?’ A waitress walked up to her.
    ‘Margarita’ Narissa murmured.
    She found another hot topic for her show, “Can you still revisit the place your ex first took you on a date?”
    ‘Here you are’ the waitress returned with a colorful glass and a lemon hanging from it.
    ‘Thank you’ Narissa fixed the straw steadily between her lips, she sucked the straw and prepared her tongue to taste the nectar when she saw him. Ife Martins had just walked into the bar.
    Her cheeks flushed, her lips went still; she found it difficult to take her eyes off him; worst of all, a pain threatened to rip her belly apart.
    He walked into the bar with another woman.
    Ife Martins had been a serial heartbreaker but all that ended when he fell in love with Narissa; she was so different from all the women he had ever dated.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Mfon asked and clutched his arm tightly to hers.
    ‘Yes I am’ he took a deep breath and tore his eyes away from the woman he loved.
    He cursed silently in his heart and prayed that Lavender’s plan worked out; how could he win a woman’s love by being with another woman. Wasn’t that crazy? How could that ever work?
    ‘I think we should leave this bar, I am not quite comfortable’ he turned swiftly but not before meeting her eyes.
    ‘Why? We just got here?’ Mfon rolled her eyes.
    He stood in the middle of Rosydew bar silently; what was he supposed to do?
    Lavender his spy and recently “How to win a woman’s heart” advocate had told him to find himself a suitable girl that would serve as his temporary lover, in the hopes of getting Narissa jealous.
    He had opened the diary of his mind, the place where he kept the names and faces of all his lovers; truthfully, he had a terrible track history with women. Some were hot, others weren’t. Some were good in bed, some weren’t. But all these women had something in common; they wanted him for themselves, they wanted his love. Something he wasn’t willing to give anyone but Narissa.
    So, he decided to pick Mfon. She wasn’t the “I want love” type, she loved good sex and money; that’s why he picked her; she could even understand his plans, once he told her about it.
    ‘Darling? Are you trying to do an advert? Because if you are, it’s working’ Mfon said to him.
    ‘Not really darling but would it be bad if I wanted to show you to the whole world?’ He noticed people were staring at them.
    That moment, as he scanned the numerous pair of eyes, he made a decision. He would win Narissa’s love at all cost, even if it meant hurting her a second time.
    ’I missed you, darling, I miss those days we had’ he said to Mfon. They had dated for just three months; he had gotten tired of her insatiable desire for sex and money, he’d bailed out on her.
    ‘Really? But you broke up on me without any reason?’ She narrowed her brows.
    ‘I was a boy then darling, now I am a man’ he returned.
    ‘Prove to me baby, prove that you are a man’ she winked.
    Ife cast one glance at Narissa, she had been watching them the whole time; he saw the flash of pain in her eyes and it hurt him to see he was the cause of that pain; but he had to do this, it was all part of the plan to get her back.
    ‘My angel’ he murmured; he then pulled Mfon closer to himself and kissed her right in the middle of the bar.
    ‘Excuse me Porn actors, you should get a room’ someone screamed at them.
    ‘They are right Ife, we should get a room. I miss your big cock’ Mfon winked and dragged him towards the exit.
    ‘Um, wait’ he tried to struggle.
    ‘No waiting darling, mama doesn’t like it when she is starved’ Mfon increased the pressure.
    He let her; he followed her but not without glancing at Narissa’s face. Her eyes were still on him, this time they weren’t calm like the sleep of trees uninterrupted by the wind. Her eyes were on fire.
    ‘Oh darling, I am so sorry, I got stained and I needed to go change my underwear. Do forgive me Rissa for keeping you so long’ Iman rushed towards her with a riot of apologies.
    She simply nodded. She was too dazed to move or do anything; her drink sat on the table abandoned; maybe it wasn’t advisable to visit the places your ex-took you after all.
    ‘Are you okay Narissa?’ Iman noticed her friend was unusually quiet.
    ‘I am fine, I have a lot of work at the office; maybe we should hang out some other time’ Narissa rose to her feet. She couldn’t function, not after what she had seen.
    So the demon was still capable of love? He found nothing wrong with kissing a woman in her presence. Why was Ife bent on hurting her?  Hadn’t he done enough damage to her person? To her pride?
    ‘You’re joking right?’ Iman swallowed. Her friend seemed to be in a very bad mood.
    She stared into her friends’ eyes and saw shiny unshed tears; had something bad happened to Rissa? Had she received bad news?
    ‘Narissa, why are you crying? Talk to me, what’s wrong’ Iman pressed her down to the chair.
    ‘I don’t think so’ her voice broke. She had thought herself immune to the bullets of heartbreak but they seemed to tear through her skin now.
    How come she still felt hurt by him? Weeks and months had passed. Why did Ife still haunt her?
    ‘I have a problem at work, I don’t know what to do’ she inhaled deeply and wiped her face.
    She needed to find bullet proof for her heart, she had to stand up to that brute that had stolen her heart and she was prepared to do this alone.
    ‘What problem? Is that why you’re crying?’ Iman warmed up to her.

    Episode Ten

     ‘What problem? Is that why you’re crying?’ Iman warmed up to her.
    ‘Yes, I don’t know what to do Iman, advise me’ she said. She couldn’t tell Iman what she had witnessed earlier; she decided to keep that part out.
    ‘Methocorp is having media assessment sessions; the media company I work for wasn’t given the contract; Ife visited me at work some time back and my boss saw him’ she paused as Iman was about to say something.
    ‘Are you serious? What did he want? What did he say?’ Iman raised a brow.
    ‘Nothing important or necessary. The problem is that my boss assumed we were best of friends and she has decided to make my life miserable. She wants me to put in a good word to Ife about our company’ she paused again.
    ‘And you never told her about your history with Ife Martins? That prick!’ Narissa asked.
    ‘No. She doesn’t care, all that she wants is for me to get the job done or at least make an attempt, else she sacks me’ Narissa said.
    ‘Sack you? Is she crazy? Begging for contracts isn’t part of your job description’ Iman scoffed.
    ‘I wish she shared your thoughts’ Narissa sipped her drink coolly, thinking about the next step to take.
    ‘Well, maybe you should give it a try to save your job’ Iman said after some minutes of silence.
    ‘Why? Why should I be the one to do that?’ Narissa coughed on her drink.
    ‘Because she thinks you are close to Ife; honey this isn’t a big deal. You’ll be a real coward if Ife finds out you were asked to speak to him and you chose not to. Don’t give him the satisfaction of thinking that you aren’t over him yet.’ Narissa said to her.
    ‘Really? So you think speaking to him is a good idea?’ Narissa poked her head to one side.
    ‘Yes. It would render his ego useless and make him an utter fool but I’d understand if you would rather not to do it. If your boss still insists, then get a lawyer’ Iman advised.
    Narissa thought about Iman’s point; it made real sense especially after her most recent encounter with Ife.
    His actions earlier proved him to be a real dick, he had kissed his new lover deliberately at the bar to spite her; showing up in his office the next day would show him she was immune to his charms. She was immune to his madness.
    ‘I will do it. I will go to his office tomorrow’ she raised her glass and drank greedily then threw the lemon into her mouth.
    ‘Are you sure about that?’ Iman lifted her brows.
    ‘Yes, in fact, I think we should go shopping. I need to dress for the occasion’ Narissa rose to her feet.
    She stared at the bag of clothes they had just purchased from the boutique; Iman had come with her and they had spent more than two hours picking “suitable” clothes to show Ife that she wasn’t affected by him.
    ‘Are you sure this will work?’ Narissa stared at her friend.
    ‘Sure’ Iman replied absentmindedly.
    ‘Iman!’ She screamed her name.
    ‘Honey, it’s going to work. I just texted Obinna that I won’t be coming home and guess what’ she narrowed her brows.
    ‘What?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘He has to leave for some urgent conference in Berlin tonight. Looks like you and I will be spending this week together, just like old times’ she grinned.
    ‘Cool but it won’t last forever. Now, let’s focus on me. Ife bruised my ego and trampled upon my heart; now I have to beg him for a job. I need this to be perfect,  I don’t want him to see me as sad or miserable’ Narissa paused.
    ‘Seriously? You’re taking this way too personal, one would think you’re still in love with the guy’ Iman laughed.
    ‘No, I cannot be in love with him; I cannot love someone like that. Ife Martins is a heart breaker’Narissa replied.
    ‘Okay then. Now come, let me dress you up. You need to look the part.  I want you to have the look of Viola Davis in “How to get away with murder”. Be confident and on top of your game” Iman dragged her towards the dressing mirror.
    ‘Is this the dress I am supposed to wear?’ Narissa’s jaw dropped as she stared at the skimpy gown. It looked so inappropriate, why would Iman pick something like that?
    ‘Because I am Iman and I know what’s good for you’ Iman replied, she could read Narissa’s thoughts.
    ‘I can’t wear that, it’s too short and revealing, what would people think? I am not a slut’ she hissed.
    ‘No you aren’t but this dress is the answer. A woman who shows off her curves is a very confident one. If this doesn’t work out, then you are free to end your friendship with me and I am very serious’ Iman dangled the black dress in front of her.
    ‘I hope this works’ Narissa took a deep breath, snatched the cloth and slipped it on.
    Iman turned her back as Narissa dressed; she was busy picking the right lip and eye shadow for her friend.
    ‘Red would be good for your lips and green for your…’ she stopped as she swirled round.
    It wasn’t a secret that Narissa was a very hot and attractive woman; the woman standing before her seemed different, where was Narissa?
    ‘How is it?’ Narissa wondered why her friend looked lost.
    ‘You are so beautiful. This dress was meant for you; fits you like second skin’ Iman was awed by her beauty.
    ‘Thank you, you’re getting me excited; I feel confident already’ a smile played on her lips. Somehow, she secretly yearned to see the look on Ife’s face when she stepped into his office. She was prepared for this little game, she had her plans.
    ‘You’re a queen Narissa and you deserve a King.’
    ‘I don’t know what I would’ve done without you Iman, you are the best friend anyone can ever have’ Narissa replied.
    ‘Thank you Queen Narissa’ Iman felt happy, she looked forward to dressing and making her friend up for her meeting with Ife tomorrow. She was also happy that she got to spend time with her friend. Friends were like treasures, deeply buried in the ground; once you found them, they could change your life forever.

    Episode Eleven

    Friends were like treasures, deeply buried in the ground; once you found them, they could change your life forever.
    Ife had been close to the cellar for a number of hours; Mfon had followed him home but he wouldn’t entertain her. His heart and soul belonged to Narissa and nothing could jeopardize his new found devotion to her.
    Each sip of the Ciroc got him thinking, what if Lavender’s plan backfired? What if he failed to win Narissa’s love?
    ‘My life would be so bleak’ he muttered to himself. He couldn’t stand it, he couldn’t imagine it. He decided to stay positive, he would win her heart and that was all that mattered.
    ‘Who are you talking to baby?’ Mfon showed up behind him.
    ‘No one’ he turned and faced her.
    ‘Okay. So why have you refused to touch me since yesterday? Do you find me unattractive?’ She asked and moved closer to him.
    ‘Mfon, you are very beautiful, I am just not in the mood for sex. We could watch movies, eat ice cream and talk; maybe have sex later’ he said to her.
    ‘Really? Watch movies?’ She scoffed and stood akimbo.
    ‘What’s wrong with you, Ife? You’re not yourself’ she ran her eyes over him.
    ‘I am okay Mfon, I’ve been stressed out lately’ he poured himself more drink.
    ‘You’re different. Entirely different. The Ife I knew was exciting, fun, loved to fuck from behind; loved to give and receive head but this new you? I hate to say it but you’re boring’ she fetched herself a glass and poured herself a drink too.
    ‘I am still Ife Martins’ he replied coolly.
    She fell silent for some minutes while sipping her drink; something wasn’t right with Ife and she would get to the bottom of it but first, she would seduce him one more time.
    ‘Baby’ she drawled and took off her shirt, her breasts dangled freely.
    ‘Um, Mfon, what are you doing?’ He was shocked.
    ‘Are you surprised? My babies grew bigger. Will you like to suck them?’ She gave her breasts a squeeze.
    ‘Look, I cannot do this’ his hands shook.
    ‘Yes you can, you’re going to make love to me right here Ife. You’ll pour some of that liquor on my body and then, you’ll lick it all up’ she ran her fingers all over him, took the glass he held and grabbed his shaft firmly in her hands.
    ‘Mfon’ he took a deep breath. No, he couldn’t sleep with her, Narissa was the woman for him and doing this would mean cheating on her.
    ‘Yes, baby? Tell me you want me; show me you have wild thoughts about me?’ She whispered against his ears.
    ‘This is a mistake, it’s over between us’ Ife pushed her away and exhaled.
    ‘Are you crazy? How can you lead me on and leave me hanging dry? You’re going to finish what you started.’ By now she had already taken off her panties.
    ‘No! I said No! Now get out of my house’ he barked.
    ‘You’re so stupid and full of yourself. I guess your dick isn’t working anymore or you’re now into men. Excuse me’ she brushed past him.
    ‘Damn’ he sighed. He picked up his phone and dialed Lavvy, she needed to come up with another plan; he couldn’t play this kind of game.
    ‘Pick up you’ he groaned.
    She couldn’t recognize herself as she stared at the mirror once Iman was done; Although the dress exposed some cleavage and showed off her hips, it still looked good on her.
    ‘Now run along sweety else you’ll be late’ Iman had to hurry her out of the house. She found it hard to leave the mirror, the reflection was simply amazing.
    A smile played on her lips as she fired her engine; Ife would be so sorry he left her for another. She would make him feel so hurt and jealous, yes she was ready.
    Her thoughts raced back to the things her friend had said to her. She wasn’t in love with Ife, she just wanted him to pay; that was all there was to this façade.
    She felt so good today; suddenly the weather was brighter, the sun was mild; the trees looked taller and the streets were cleaner; it was going to be a good day.
    ‘Hey, watch your driving Miss’ an angry driver yelled at her.
    ‘I wish I could’ she yelled back.
    Springs of confidence and budding self-esteem welled up inside her as she brought the car to a halt. She had arrived the studio.
    Narissa the hot girl was super hot today. The black dress stopped middle of her laps; they clung her soft hips and made her look very sexy. The front of the dress was low cut and exposed bare flesh, it gave a glimpse into her soft and creamy breasts; her makeup was flawless. She was a sight to behold. A goddess in human form.
    ‘Are you for real?’ Jason gasped and took off his glasses as Narissa walked into the studio.
    There was pin drop silence, the type that threatened a parrot; everyone was spell bound; their eyes were fixed on this goddess and soon, they were all worshipping her with praises.
    ‘You look hot’ Lavender was the first to speak.
    ‘Thank you Lavvy’ Narissa nodded, she stared at her boss for some minutes; the woman’s face seemed like she had never seen her before.
    ‘I am going to take the job. I am leaving for Ife’s office right now; I hope this works’ she announced and turned towards the door.
    ‘Wait, it would definitely work out. You’re beautiful Narissa’ Mrs Arinze, her boss was able to speak after moments of staring at her wide-eyed.
    ‘Stop the typing Lavender, get a camera and let’s all take a picture. We’ll sit back and remember today as one in which Narissa the hot girl, took a bold step to better our media company’ she snapped her fingers to her other workers.
    ‘Coming!’ Lavender typed as fast as she could. It seemed Ife wasn’t the only one playing the game here.
    Click. Click. So went the camera sounds till Narissa was weary of picture taking.
    ‘I have to go now guys, see you later’ she waved at them and rushed out of the studio.
    ‘I can die in peace right now; I finally saw a goddess’ Jason groaned.
    ‘Silly you’ Lavender hissed and left for the bathroom, she needed a more private place to chat with Ife.
    She had to do her job as a true spy and the bathroom was the best place where she could function.
    ‘Who’s there?’ She shut her phone and stepped out of a cubicle.
    ‘Me’ Jason showed up before her.
    ‘What do you want? Are you stalking me now?’ Fear gripped her as she stared into his eyes; they were darkened by lust and it scared her.
    ‘I want to fuck you Lavvy; I miss your ass’ he moved towards her.
    ‘Stop right there you little psycho, I am not your whore’ her voice broke, she couldn’t possibly escape now; there was just one door in and out

    Episode Twelve

    ‘Stop right there you little psycho, I am not your whore’ her voice broke, she couldn’t possibly escape now; there was just one door in and out.
    ‘Well then, it’s a pity because the moment Narissa returns, I’ll tell her you are spying on her and we both know you can lose your job for doing that’ Jason drew invisible circles on her face.
    ‘You lie’ her voice was shaky, her legs were weak.
    ‘Mrs. Arinze’s media company is alive because of Narissa the hot girl, don’t delude yourself. You are of no use to her’ he grabbed her ass with force.
    ‘Please don’t hurt me Jason; please don’t do this’ a tear slipped from her eyes.
    ‘Then I will tell Narissa the truth, do you want that?’ He released her.
    She took a deep breath and stared into his face; she weighed her options. If she lost her job here, Ife could offer her another job but it would ruin his plans of winning Narissa’s love and would ruin her own plans too.
    ‘Don’t tell her’ she nodded and began to undress.
    ‘Good girl, you know how to make a man happy’ his hands roamed all over her.
    FLATTEN HER CONFIDENCE. SHE IS ALL SET FOR YOU. HEADED TOWARDS YOUR COMPANY TO ASK FOR A CONTRACT. LET HER DOWN. THAT WOULD LEAVE HER VULNERABLE. ONCE A WOMAN IS VULNERABLE, YOU STEP IN AND PLAY THE LOVE CARD. LAVVY.
    ‘Shit, why is this happening now?’ Ife paced in his office. Why hadn’t Lavender informed him of Narissa’s visit to his office? This was so sudden.
    He remembered he had kissed Mfon while Narissa was present; what if Narissa still harbored feelings for him? Was that her reason for dressing hot?
    A sweet sensation swam over him as he thought about that possibility; slowly, the darkness fell from his eyes and he suddenly found faith in Lavender’s plan.
    ‘I’ve been so stupid’ he picked up his phone; Narissa could show up at his office anytime and he needed his make-believe girlfriend to be around.
    He prayed Mfon listened to him. He prayed she forgave him and played along.
    ‘What do you want, dick?’ Those were her first words the moment she took the call.
    ‘Baby?  I am so sorry…’ he stuttered.
    ‘Baby? Dude, don’t baby me, go straight to the point. Are you horny?’ She asked.
    ‘No. Please, I really need to see you, I have missed you so much and I love you Mfon. I really need to see you now’ he begged.
    ‘Okay. Wait. You’re lying. Can you tell me what the hell happened to you? Are you okay, Ife?’ This man was totally different from the man she knew.
    ‘It’s a long story Mfon and if I tell you, you’ll be mad at me’ he fiddled with the thought of telling her the truth; that she was a make-believe girlfriend.
    ‘Go ahead, I am listening. Make it brief’ she replied.
    ‘I only asked you out because I needed to flaunt you as my girlfriend’ he explained.
    ‘Shit. That hurts. How could you do something like that, Ife? What if I had fallen in love in the process? Now, that’s not manly’ she expressed her disgust.
    ‘I really need your help Mfon, I need to get this girl jealous. I have a feeling she likes me and I need to prove it so I’ll know the next step to take’ he replied.
    ‘I see why you’ve been acting really weird. First, you kiss me in the middle of a fancy bar, then you refuse to have sex with me even when I strip totally. I can’t believe the playboy has finally fallen for a woman. I guess she is hot, eh?’ Mfon chuckled softly.
    ‘Very and intelligent too. She’s a real gem but I hurt her and now, she won’t take me back’ Ife gushed over Narissa.
    ‘Come on honey, don’t be too hard on yourself. Which woman can resist you?’ Mfon was awed by his transformation.
    ‘You. You never fell in love with me like the others’ Ife was sure of this.
    ‘I don’t fall in love Ife, sex is my love’ she laughed again, this time louder.
    ‘Please forgive me Mfon if I have offended you in the past; please forgive me’ he apologized.
    ‘No need, I’ll help you. I’ll show up in your office right away. I forgot to add, I excelled in drama class’
    ‘Just come over, will you’ Ife laughed as he ended the call.
    ‘Catherine, you can stop banging my door like you took weed in the morning, I need to rest my head and prepare for what’s coming’ he knew his secretary was the one knocking.
    He moved towards the window and stared down at the streets, soon Narissa would be here. He felt mixed emotions as he thought about her coming. First, he was very excited he would see the face that troubled his dreams once again; but his heart ached each time he remembered how he hurt her and how she had rejected him.
    ‘Get the files ready for the next media assessment session’ he issued orders as the door creaked.
    ‘It’s not Catherine. I am here’
    The familiar voice pricked him like a needle; this needle was laced with anxiety and excitement, he quickly turned and faced her. His heart stopped.
    Ekene sat in the garden with his boss and wife; Narissa had recognized him the last time she visited but they had not spoken at length.
    ‘As our new driver, we’ll like to know a few things about you and I hope you don’t get offended by some of our questions. You see, man is a very curious being and this in itself is man’s weakness’ Narissa’s father spoke.
    ‘I’ll be ready to tell you whatever you need to know’ Ekene felt relaxed as he stared at his employers.
    The memories of the things that had sunk him to his current level were fresh in his mind. Ife his friend had dumped him; that action had revealed the reality of life to him.
    Ife had stripped him of his wealth and he was left with nothing. He had been too ashamed to ask his brother for help.
    How could he ask Obinna for help after the things he had done behind his back? He had slept with Nkoli, the worst betrayal of all. He felt lucky Nkoli had not killed him the day she chased him about with a knife.
    This job was the best thing to have happened to him in recent time and he wouldn’t do anything to ruin his opportunity. He decided to tell them nothing but the truth.
    ‘She was dating my best friend’ he said.
    ‘Your best friend? Can you tell us about this young man?’ Edna inquired.
    ‘Look Ekene, we are sorry to put you in an uncomfortable situation like this but you have to understand our position. We are just curious, feed our curiosity’ Edna quickly added, she spotted discomfort on his face.
    ‘No problem. I am willing to answer any questions’ he repeated.
    ‘My friend Ife Martins dated Narissa for some time, I don’t know much about their relationship but I know it ended’ he said.
    ‘Oh my God!Edna’s face paled.
    ‘And we tried to hook her up with that same man.’ Her father felt deeply ashamed.
    ‘We need to call her to fix a date, we need to apologize to Narissa for trying to force her on someone that she doesn’t like’ Edna suggested to her husband.
    ‘Good. It’s a good idea, I’ll text her right away’ Narissa’s father quickly fetched his phone and started typing.

    Episode Thirteen

     ‘Good. It’s a good idea, I’ll text her right away’ Narissa’s father quickly fetched his phone and started typing.
    He felt breathless as he stared at the living goddess; she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her eyes blazed like sapphires, her reddened lips called out to him, they begged to be kissed. The black dress she wore showed off her curves; curves he had seen before, curves he had caressed.
    ‘Um, I came to discuss something important’ she tore her gaze from him as it made her tremble on the inside. The intensity of Ife’s eyes bore deep into her and she couldn’t help it.
    Her palms were sweaty; her stomach warbled; her legs felt weak. Where was the confidence she so badly needed? She felt vulnerable; felt totally naked before Ife, like he could see through her charade.
    ‘Take a seat’ Ife drew a breath and steadied himself.  He mustered courage and reminded himself that he needed to act his part, he kept to the game plan.
    ‘I’m all ears, Narissa’ he wore a frown.
    ‘My company would like to do business with yours’ she crossed her legs and started.
    ‘Wait’ he protested with a lift of his hand.
    ‘What?’ She wondered. Suddenly she felt irritated and angry at herself for wearing such a revealing dress to Ife’s office; he found it difficult to keep his eyes away from her cleavage.
    ‘You came to discuss business, wearing this? I am disappointed in you, Narissa. You are not the woman I thought you were’ he shook his head, stood up and walked towards the wine cupboard.
    ‘Excuse me?’ Narissa swallowed, what was he insinuating?
    ‘Stick to the business plan, why did you come to my office?’ He returned with two glasses of wine.
    ‘My media company is very good and we would like to be given a slot in Methocorp’s media assessment sessions’ she replied flatly, then pushed the glass aside.
    Ife Martins was her enemy, she couldn’t  drink his wine.
    ‘Well, I have already enlisted other media companies to work for me, I won’t be needing yours’ Ife sipped his drink coolly.
    ‘Uhmm….’ She wriggled her hands nervously. How could he refuse her request? Was she supposed to beg him?
    ‘I won’t do that, I will never beg him’ she thought to herself as her ego flared.
    ‘Uhmm what? If you have nothing else to say Narissa, you may leave now; I am a very busy man’ he stared at her face, watching every blink of her eyes. He needed to have his answers, was she still in love with him?
    As she was about giving her retort, the door flew wide; she turned immediately. This time it was her heart that stopped.
    She suddenly felt jealous and angry; she remembered this woman quite well from Rosydew, Ife had kissed her in the middle of the bar. Was this his new girlfriend?
    ‘Hello, darling, did you miss me?’ Mfon pawed sweetly, then walked seductively towards Ife. She completely ignored Narissa
    ‘My angel, you’re so beautiful’ Ife rose up to receive her. They hugged warmly then kissed each other very slowly and passionately.
    Her confidence became ashes, her pain resurrected as she stared at them both. So Ife had gotten another girlfriend after dumping her? She kept her eyes on the ground as the lovers kissed.
    ‘Oh, honey, how rude of me’ Ife broke the kiss and decided to introduce the two ladies.
    ‘Narissa meet my girlfriend Mfon; and Mfon, meet a business partner’ Ife gestured with his hands.
    Narissa had nothing to say, she forced a smile and simply nodded.
    ‘Nice to meet you Narissa, I hope you’ll come to our wedding?’ Mfon asked sweetly.
    ‘Your wedding?’ Narissa’s heart sank. She remembered Ife had told her he wasn’t ready to get married, why was he getting married now? So he had only desired her body and not her heart.
    Tears brimmed in her eyes but she held them, she couldn’t look weak now.
    ‘Yes Narissa, we will be getting married soon. I’ll love for you to come’ he poured Mfon a glass.
    ‘Thanks. I should get going, I thought you’d grant my request’ Narissa rose to her feet.
    Ife heard her well but he ignored her completely and moved towards Mfon, planted a kiss on her lips first before turning to Narissa.
    ‘I have no business to discuss with you Narissa and next time you go for a business talk, wear something better than a lingerie’ he replied.
    She opened her mouth to defend herself, to bite him with cruel words just as he did her but words failed her; words fled her.
    ‘Thank you’ she murmured and rushed out of his office.
    “Ife! That girl is a ball of hotness. Her face looks very familiar like I have met her somewhere’ Mfon quickly moved away from him.
    ‘Yes, yes. She hosts the popular television show “Breakfast daily”’ he replied.
    ‘Yes! She is so beautiful, why are you breaking her heart Ife? I watched her eyes throughout our little charade, she is in love with you’ Mfon said to him.
    ‘Really? Then I need to pursue her, I am in love with her too. I love Narissa’ Ife smiled, he had felt it too, Narissa still loved him.
    ‘You better hurry before someone else grabs that cute ass’ Mfon advised.
    ‘I will. Thanks for your help’ he hugged her warmly.
    ‘I didn’t do it for free’ she tapped her legs.
    Was she going to ask for sex? He loosened his tie, that was something he couldn’t do.
    ‘Hell no! And goodbye. Your mind is dirty’ she yelled as she read his thoughts.
    ‘Thanks for your help. I’ll send you a fat cheque’ he called after her as she left his office.
    ‘Whatever! Just make sure you invite me for the wedding. For the record, you and Narissa will make the finest couple on the planet’ she replied and shut the door behind her.
    ‘Yes we will because we are in love with each other’ he felt glad at this realization.
    Now he had his answers, Narissa was in love with him; he needed to speak with Lavender, she was his play guide.

    Episode Fourteen

    Now he had his answers, Narissa was in love with him; he needed to speak with Lavender, she was his play guide.
    Her hands were glued to the steering as she arrived home; her body went still like she had seen a ghost. Had that really happened? Had she been humiliated by Ife, again?
    Tears rolled down her cheeks as she remembered his words: “I am disappointed in you.”
    She pulled down her mirror and scanned the dress she wore; he was right, she did seem desperate.
    ‘He is getting married to her’ she murmured and broke down. How could Ife get married so quickly after ending their relationship?
    ‘My Queen is back, Oya come and gist me, how did it go?’ Iman rushed outside to meet her friend.
    ‘Narissa? Oh my God, what happened? Why are you crying?’ Iman felt hurt seeing her friend this way.
    Narissa blinked away the tears, how could she tell Iman about what Ife had done to her?
    ‘Talk to me baby, please what happened?’ Iman hovered over her.
    ‘I don’t know where to start’ Narissa broke down.
    She had walked into Ife’s office fully dressed with confidence but she was returning with a bruised ego. He treated her like a nobody, humiliated her and turned down her request.
    ‘It didn’t work out. My company isn’t getting the job’ she returned flatly.
    ‘What! How is that possible? You looked hot and everything, why did he turn you down?’ Iman folded her arms across her chest in shock.
    ‘Tell me, Iman, why did you pick this dress?’ Narissa stared at her teary-eyed.
    ‘Uhmm, what has the dress got to do with this? The dress was everything you needed; it was perfect for the occasion Rissa’
    ‘No it wasn’t! It made me look like a whore’ she stepped out of the car and banged the door.
    ‘No, why would you say something like that?’ Iman was taken aback.
    ‘Ife told me so. He made me feel so stupid. I hate him so much’ she groaned.
    ‘Ife? Tell me, Rissa, do your tears have a thing to do with losing the job or with Ife Martins?’ Iman asked she needed to be clear about something.
    ‘Why would you ask me that?’ Narissa wiped her face, maybe it was the time she faced the truth.
    ‘Oh no, you’re still in love with him’ Iman regarded her thoughtfully and found the answer to her question.
    ‘He is getting married’ Narissa held a sob.
    ‘Oh my God! I am so sorry, tell me everything’ Iman took her hands gently and caressed it as she cried.
    ‘The reason I was in low spirits at Rosydew yesterday was that of Ife; he’d walked in with his fiancé and kissed her right there in my presence. He introduced me to her today; she even invited me for the wedding. Can you imagine that? Why is he so mean? Breaking my heart wasn’t enough for him, he wants me dead too’ Narissa sobbed.
    ‘That’weird, why would he do all that?’ Iman wondered. No sane man introduced the women he slept with to each other; maybe Ife wasn’t sane. What if he had a purpose for doing that?
    ‘Narissa, when Ife kissed his fiancée at the bar, did he see you?’ Iman asked.
    ‘I guess. What does that have to do with anything?’ Narissa was lost.
    ‘I think Ife is trying to get you jealous and he is being very immature about it’ Iman shrugged.
    ‘Jealous? I doubt it, he likes to show off’ Narissa wiped her face and stared at her friend. Why would Ife want her jealous? He was getting married for heaven’s sake.
    She drew a breath and thought about what took place in his office. She recalled his eyes had roamed all over the body, wasn’t that desire? What was his game?
    ‘He is in love with you’ Iman laughed. How could Narissa be so blind?  She was the relationship expert.
    ‘In love with me? He broke my heart, Iman. Last I remember, breaking someone else’s heart isn’t a show of love. Humor me’ she sighed.
    ‘You told me yourself that the dude confessed it, he begged you, Rissa, have you forgotten? Maybe this is just his crazy way of gaining your attention, and I’ll say he has already succeeded’ Iman countered.
    ‘You’re not seeing the real picture here. Ife is getting married to that lady.’ Narissa blurted out. What the hell was Iman saying?
    ‘Yea right. Have you seen pictures or the wedding invite? You’re not simple-minded. Think Narissa, think’ Iman urged her.
    ‘Okay, let’s assume he is playing a game with me, what am I supposed to do?’ She rolled her eyes, feeling a little relief.
    ‘Now be honest with me, do you still love him?’ Iman inquired, she needed to know what exactly she was dealing with.
    ‘If I didn’t, I wouldn’t feel this hurt. I guess I have been lying to myself all this while. Maybe I should take a break from this country. Change of environment heals heartbreak’ she felt it was better to stay far away from Ife Martins.
    ‘Running is the solution of cowards. Even if you travel to the ends of the world, your heart will still dwell on the one you love. You are in love with him Narissa but you have to take a decision. You have just two options here’ Iman replied.
    ‘What are they?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘When you fall in love with a person, you either love them in secret after which the love fades off or you ask yourself if they are worthy of your love, then you fight to keep them. Do you want to love Ife in secret and let the feelings fade off; or are you willing to accept him like the brute that he is?’ Iman’s eyes were on her.
    ‘I want to kill the feelings. I want to hurt him just once, I want him to feel this hollow pain that grows stronger every day’ she replied.
    ‘Are you sure about that? Revenge can be a bitch sometimes’ Iman raised her brows, surprised at her friend’s determination to get revenge on her ex-lover.
    ‘And revenge is sometimes the only way to heal from past hurts. Old leaves have to die for new ones to sprout. Revenge is beautiful’ Narissa was determined.
    ‘Alright then. But we must have a plan’ Iman answered with a nod.
    ‘Yes, I have something on my plate already. Something that will hurt him twice as much’ she fetched her buzzing phone.
    ‘My father sent me a text since morning, poor network’ she remarked and dropped the phone on the table.
    ‘What are your plans exactly? Fill me in’ Iman was curious.
    ‘If I told you, it would cease to be a plan’ Narissa rose to her feet and walked towards her room.

    Episode Fifteen

     ‘If I told you, it would cease to be a plan’ Narissa rose to her feet and walked towards her room.
    After Mfon left, Ife returned to his father’s house. He couldn’t stay in that empty house all alone. Falling in love with Narissa had opened his eyes to many things; one of which was the fact that he had been living an empty life.
    ‘You look better today, what’s with the face?’ His father joined him in the living room.
    ‘Hey dad, I am happy for no reason. Let’s just say it’s a No-Stress day’ he beamed.
    ‘Really?’ His father asked.
    ‘Yes,’ he replied coolly. His father was quite the observer; seeing Narissa look so vulnerable thrilled him; she was in love with him and that was hope enough they could get back together.
    ‘Are you in love with someone?’ The old man suddenly asked after moments of silence.
    ‘Dad?’ His eyes widened in shock.
    ‘Yea, you have that faraway look going’ his father added.
    ‘I am not in love’ he lied.
    ‘You’re such a terrible liar, just like your mother’ the old man grinned.
    ‘Can I ask a question?’ Ife rubbed his hands nervously.
    ‘Sure’ the man replied.
    ‘How do you win a woman’s love after hurting her?’
    ‘Buy her a thousand flowers and soak them in your tears’ the old man’s face brightened.
    ‘That’s not possible; I am not Kanye’ Ife rolled his eyes.
    ‘It simply means, a woman that you hurt cannot be won back easily; some may choose to stay “hurt” forever. You do your part and leave the rest to her. If she really wants you, then forgiveness won’t be a big deal; except of course you slept with her sister or her best friend’ the man explained.
    ‘No, I did none of those’ Ife replied.
    ‘Oh, so you admit it now, you do like someone’ his father teased.
    ‘Excuse me father, I’ll love to take this. It’s important’ Ife moved away, he didn’t want to discuss Narissa with his father just yet. If the old man knew the pain he’d caused her, it could change the way he saw him. His father would be extremely disappointed in him.
    ‘Alright then, remember to buy a thousand flowers…’ his words trailed Ife as he walked towards his room.
    ‘…and soak them with tears’ Ife murmured and shut his door.
    Lavender had just sent him a text, indicating her readiness to chat.
    Lavvy: Hi, how did it go? Hope you brought her down to her knees?
    Ife: Sure mama, you were right. I think Narissa still loves me.
    Lavvy: Think? You need be sure so I know what next to tell you.
    Ife: Okay. She is in love with me.
    Lavvy: Good. You have to get her even more jealous. Give me details of your office experience?
    Ife: she came in gorgeously dressed. Asked me to give your media company a contract; then my “fiancée” walks in and I introduce them both.
    Lavvy: Fiancee?
    Ife: I told Narissa we were getting married, did I cross a line? Did I take it too far?
    Lavvy: No. You’re a genius. This is great news!
    Ife: You think? What do I do next?
    Lavvy: Did you grant her request?
    Ife: No. But I plan to. How can I refuse her anything?
    Lavvy: Good. Now, print wedding cards and send one to our office.
    Ife: Wow, the game is getting bloody. What if I deliver it myself?
    Lavvy: Her house would be the perfect venue. You’ll see beyond the exterior. Once you do this, she’ll have no option but to surrender totally to you.
    Ife: Good. Good. I love this! Okay, I am going to pay you double. Thanks, Lavender, you’ve been so nice.
    Lavvy: I’ll do anything for you darling.
    Ife: Hmm, goodnight.
    Lavender’s last words confused him a bit; did she have a crush on him? That sentence did not sit well.
    ‘Well well, we are going to be together soon Narissa’ he sent her a text telling her he had granted her company the media assessment contract for Methocorp but it didn’t come free, it came with a price.
    The drive to her father’s house was quick, she rode at the highest speed; her speedometer had rung many times but she wouldn’t go slow for anything. She had come up with a perfect plan that would hurt Ife as much and that plan resided where she was headed.
    She brought the car to a stop and stepped down with blue roses; Edna loved roses and would be happy to get some from her.
    ‘Narissa! I am glad you came’ Edna rushed towards her as she stepped into the garden.
    ‘Edna, how are you?’ Narissa hugged her warmly.
    ‘Where is my father?’ She scanned everywhere.
    ‘Oh, the old man went for a meeting in the church, he will be back within the hour. Can you wait that long?’ Edna asked.
    ‘Sure. Where is Ekene?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘In the boy’s quarters’ Edna replied with a frown.
    ‘Okay, I need to speak with him urgently, I’ll be right back’ Narissa swirled and started towards Ekene’s room.
    ‘Wait Narissa’ Edna’s voice brought her to a halt; it was heavily laden with concern.
    ‘Edna? Is there a problem?’
    ‘Ekene told us that he was your ex’s best friend’ Edna started.
    ‘I guess you all know Ife Martins is my ex then. Don’t worry Edna, I have gotten over him; I have never felt better. See you soon’ she forced a smile and walked off.
    ‘Take care’ Edna waved. She had not spent so much time with Narissa but she knew Narissa was good at wearing masks. She prayed everything worked out well for her because she still looked like a woman in love.
     Narissa took a deep breath and rammed her fingers into the door. She knew Edna was concerned about her but there was no need to worry, she was a big girl and big girls could take care of themselves.
    ‘Ekene, open up, it’s me Narissa’ she increased her ramming.
    ‘Narissa?’ Ekene was stunned.
    ‘Can I come in? I have a confession to make’ she wore a bright smile.
    ‘Confession?’ Ekene asked as he offered her a seat on his bed.
    ‘Yes, I like you Ekene. I am sorry for putting you off like that’ she said to him.
    ‘You like me? Does that mean you have forgiven me for the way I spoke to you?’ He held his breath.
    ‘Yes. It’s of no consequence to me. I really like you dear and I’ll love for us to be friends’ she repeated.
    ‘I can’t believe this; you’re everything I have ever dreamt of’ he stuttered, this seemed too good to be true.
    ‘Yes dear’ she smiled.
    ‘Dear?’ He was still surprised.
    A beautiful woman like Narissa didn’t just show up in your house without having something in mind; she needed something from him. He wasn’t a fool, she wore a mask.
    ‘Are you horny?’ Ekene asked her.
    His question pricked her ass like a needle and she shifted uncomfortably in his bed. Why would he ask her that?
    ‘I knew you wouldn’t answer it. You want something from me Narissa, you don’t just forgive a guy who called you names and wants to be friends with him at the same time. Tell me, what do you want?’ He repeated.
    ‘Nothing. I just want to be friends with you; no more, no less’ she swallowed.
    ‘Funny. How is your ex Ife and when last did you hear from him?’ Ekene asked. He had not forgotten what Ife had done to him, maybe he deserved some of it but taking all of his money and freezing his accounts was too much for revenge.
    ‘I am not here to talk about Ife!’ She snapped angrily at him.
    ‘Wow, slow down tiger. Just tell me what you want and I promise not to ask you any more questions’ he took a deep breath, he had not expected her reaction.
    ‘I… am sorry for snapping at you that way. I am sorry I came here. I need to go now’ she suddenly felt weak. She lost her courage for revenge.
    ‘Wait Narissa, are you sure you’re okay? You can talk to me, you know’ he held her back.
    ‘I am fine. Sorry for bothering you’ she pulled her hands away from his and rushed out of his room.
    ‘Goodbye Narissa’ his voice was a whisper. He stared at her as she walked away; she seemed like a traveler who was lost in a maze. Why had Narissa come to him? He needed to find out.
    He realized he had not thought about his best friend Ife in a long time; he decided to look him up later on the internet.
    For now, his mind dwelt on Narissa and the things that troubled her.

    Episode Sixteen

    For now, his mind dwelt on Narissa and the things that troubled her.
    ‘You’re back early, how are your parents?’ Iman was surprised to see her friend return so soon.
    ‘I couldn’t do it’ Narissa trotted into the kitchen and pulled a chair. Iman was busy preparing dinner.
    ‘Do what?’ Iman asked, and then stirred the pot.
    ‘Why am I so weak Iman? Why do people look up to me when I am nothing? I am just a ball of nothingness’
    ‘Narissa? What is it this time?’ Iman closed the pot and moved over to her.
    ‘I had a plan to front Ife’s best friend, Ekene as my lover but I failed. I can’t pretend to be in love with someone just to hurt another. Revenge is not my thing’ she decided.
    ‘Oh, poor you, come here’ Iman drew her in for a hug. One look at Narissa’s pale features could plunge anyone into tears.
    ‘How do I ever get over him? I love him so much; I think about him all the time’ she wept on her friend’s shoulders.
    ‘I wish I knew Rissa, I wish I did’ Iman hugged her tightly.
    ‘I wish I had listened to you, Ife is the cruelest person on earth. I wish I never loved him’ tears of hurt and regret wriggled down her face.
    She felt better after talking to her friend Iman; it was good to have a shoulder to lean on whenever she was troubled.
    She would try to forget Ife and move on with her life; she knew it was difficult but she was willing to try.
    ‘Where are you off to?’ Iman watched as she dressed hurriedly.
    ‘Work. I got my groove back’ Narissa winked, gave her friend a peck and sauntered out of the house.
    ‘I love you, take care’ Iman waved back.
    She felt stronger as she stepped into her office, she was ready to face her boss; she had lost the contract and there was nothing she would do about it.
    ‘Congratulations Narissa’ Mrs. Arinze called to her.
    ‘Good morning boss’ she joined the woman in her office.
    ‘You did it Narissa, we have the contract’ Mrs. Arinze beamed and hugged her.
    ‘What contract? What are you talking about?’ She rolled her eyes.
    ‘Ife is coming to the studio, we are in for the media assessment program, all thanks to you darling’ she continued.
    ‘What!’ She exclaimed, it was unbelievable; he had acted like he wouldn’t give her the job, what changed his mind?
    ‘However, he wants you to be on it. He wants you to interview him yourself’ Mrs. Arinze quickly added.
    ‘Me? We have lots of people in the studio? What happened to Andalin, Mark and the rest? I am not the only media personality here’ she complained.
    ‘No, Narissa, I agree, you aren’t but Ife Martins insisted you should handle the interview and I support him. Out of all the media personalities we have, you are the brightest, most famous and most talented of all. You have to do this for us Narissa; do it for you. Working with the Methocorp boss could take you places, you know’ Mrs. Arinze winked.
    ‘I’ll never do something like that’ she muttered. It was humiliating enough to have gotten embarrassed by him; she was never going near Ife Martins. She sought to heal her heart.
    ‘You have to. You must’ Mrs. Arinze’s voice became firm.
    ‘Or what? You’ll sack me? Hell yeah, I am ready for that. You know what? I am tired of working under threats. You can interview him yourself’ anger shot through her.
    ‘Narissa…’ Mrs. Arinze swallowed; she had not expected that reaction. She couldn’t lose Narissa for anything. She was very important to the media firm.
    ‘Please, I won’t sack you; I can’t sack you. You are the best Narissa, please help us. Help this Media Company’ she begged.
    ‘I wish I could but I can’t stand Ife Martins’ she said.
    ‘Please, I beg of you’ her boss fell on her knees.
    Narissa stood glued and watched her boss; she didn’t feel comfortable watching her boss kneel. She could handle Ife on set; she would do it but only once.
    ‘I’ll do it’ she said through clenched teeth.
    She was only agreeing to do it because her boss Mrs. Arinze was a woman she admired greatly.
    Lavender and Jason stepped into her office along others; Mrs. Arinze had summoned everyone into her office for a briefing.
    ‘Good morning all, it’s not a surprise that we were able to get a spot on the Methocorp media assessment program, I knew we would get that contract the moment I brought Narissa into it. So this media company and everyone working here are very grateful to her’ she paused as her workers applauded.
    ‘You did well Narisssa, congratulations’ Lavvy moved closer to her.
    ‘I did nothing’ Narissa rolled her eyes. Her mind was more focused on how she would face Ife. What if he came into the studio with his fiancé? How would she handle that?
    Her nose flared as she thought about that; her fists were clenched as she thought of possible ways to hurt him like he had hurt her but she found herself incapable of hurting anyone.
    ‘He is here! Oh my God, the great Ife Martins is here’ a voice shouted and the studio broke into a frenzy as the boss begun to dish out instructions.
    Narissa drew a deep breath and exhaled; she would handle this interview well, she would ignore his signature mocking glare. She would make him feel powerless over her, even if he came along with his fiancé.
    Ife stepped out of the G-Wagon like a king; his bodyguards surrounded him; one was at the fore and two trotted behind. He was a celebrity, a billionaire who had to be protected.
    ‘The cards are ready sir’ one of his guards whispered to him.
    ‘Okay, give me two copies’ he whispered back.
    He had carefully thought up more ways to get Narissa more jealous. She liked him, he knew that but he needed to be sure.
    He had listened to Lavvy, his new relationship advisor and had granted her media company a contract. He had planned to do that even before Lavvy asked him, how could he refuse the woman he loved anything?
    ‘Good morning Mr. Martins, welcome to Sunshine Spring Media, we are really happy to have you here on short notice’ Mrs. Arinze moved towards Ife.
    ‘Thank you, Madam. I am pleased to be here, may we proceed?’ he scanned the faces of the people who worked at Sunshine Television, Narissa wasn’t there.
    ‘Uhm, madam, I hope you remember the terms of our contract. I am to be interviewed by Narissa the hot girl’ he spelt out her name.
    ‘Yes sir, she is waiting right in there for you. We always honor contract terms’ she led him towards the part of the studio that had been prepared for the interview.
    ‘Good morning Mr. Ife Martins’ she rose to her feet boldly and walked towards him.
    ‘Morning pretty rose’ he was surprised by her boldness, he took in her hands. They felt warm and he clung to it more than was necessary.

    Episode Seventeen

     ‘Morning pretty rose’ he was surprised by her boldness, he took in her hands. They felt warm and he clung to it more than was necessary.
    ‘If you’re done squeezing my poor hands, you can release them now the cameraman isn’t looking’ she wore a frown and tried to pull her hands out of his grip but he held on.
    His hands were hard and the feel of them on hers tickled her mildly.
    ‘Is there a problem here?’ Mrs. Arinze walked up to the pair. She had noticed the look on Narissa’s face. It was sour. She needed to know that everything was alright.
    ‘Of course Madam, I have an announcement to make. Have this, I would love Sunshine spring to be there’ he fetched a card from his pocket and handed it over to Narissa’s boss.
    Narissa’s heart raced, what was on the card? She watched her boss’ plump face as it broke into a smile.
    ‘Congratulations are in order, sir! I hope it is not too early to say, Happy married life!’ Mrs. Arinze beamed.
    ‘Thank you, I guess we can start the interview now’ Ife shifted his eyes to Narissa; one look in her eyes and he had all the answers he needed.
    She still had feelings for him. The pain, love, and jealousy in her eyes were unmistakable.
    ‘Yes, the interview’ she led him to a chair.
    “Happy married life!” Mrs. Arinze’s voice rang in her head. So Ife was truly getting married? Her face fell as she realized this was more than a game. Her heart sank, she had lost him forever.
    He never really loved her; he had played with her heart and now he would be married to someone else.
    She knew she couldn’t handle this so she would pretend through the interview and once she was done, she would leave the country; she wanted nothing to do with Ife Martins. That name brought her nothing but pain, sadness, and depression.
    ‘Please adjust your tie’ she forced a smile.
    ‘Oh, thank you’ his hands went to his tie.
    He could tell she wasn’t alright; he had dated her before though not for very long; he could tell when she was happy and when she was sad.
    Narissa was many things; pretty, intelligent, bold and now, a good actress.
    Although the others watched them from outside the glass cubicle they were both confined in, they all failed to see the anger in her eyes and the pain she felt by just looking at him.
    ‘Welcome to this television program, if you’re are just tuning in, you are watching Methocorp media assessment program. I am Narissa the hot girl and today, I will be speaking with the youngest Billionaire in Nigeria and indeed all of Africa, Ife Martins. He runs the mega company, Methocorp and he is here to answer some questions. Stay tuned, we’ll be back after this short break.’ she winked and then waved before the cameras were taken away from her.
    Her smile faded away immediately the cameras left her face; she released a sigh and ran her eyes over the script. The interview was about to begin.
    She raised her eyes once more and found his dark and brooding gaze on her. Her heart skipped, why was he looking at her that way?
    ‘You are beautiful’ he said to her, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her.
    ‘And you are getting married’ she grinned then tore her gaze away from him. His eyes were too penetrating, could drive one off the edge. It took great courage to stare at him;  his eyes were fire and she didn’t want to get burned in it
    ‘Will you come for my wedding?’ He toyed with her.
    This was it, she’d had enough of his nonsense. She needed to stand up for herself, he had broken her heart and expected her to come for his wedding?
    ‘Please Ife, let us focus on the interview’ she held her tongue from howling abuses at him.
    ‘Okay, whatever you want ‘he raised his hands up.
    Iman had nothing much doing at home; she had spoken with Obinna for the third time that morning; she missed him a lot and with Narissa gone, she felt bored being home alone.
    She sighed and climbed the sofa then turned on the Television.
    ‘What’s good?’ She muttered to herself and then gave into a yawn. She had not watched television in a long time.
    ’Oh my God, this isn’t happening! Maybe I am not seeing clearly’ she sat up on the Sofa as she glued her eyes to the T.V.
    Narissa had not told her that Ife would be coming over to the studio; she had not mentioned that she had won the contract. Iman shrugged and rested her head on the chair, she must have had a good reason for not telling her.
    She wondered how her friend was coping with Ife seated across from her; how could she focus? She prayed Narissa would be alright.
    She had experienced heartbreak a couple of times and she had bounced back each time, she knew all too well what Narissa was going through and she couldn’t judge her.
    ‘They actually look good together’ Iman suddenly saw something that she had failed to see in Ife earlier; because she had been blinded by his seeming arrogance. Watching both of them together now, she was forced to admit that they complimented each other; he looked like Narissa’s better half.
    She watched the show with curiosity.
    Narissa asked ‘So Mr. Martins, can you give us a brief history of how Methocorp was started?’
    ‘Thank you for that question. Most people don’t know this fact: When my great-grandfather started this company, he didn’t call it “Methocorp”, he called it “Martins Bottling Company” but as it evolved, as it earned access to more technology and grew beyond the proposed bonds, my father took over and renamed it. My father gave it the name “Methocorp”’ Ife replied.
    ‘That’s nice, I am glad you know your history. Can we divert a little to your personal life? Everybody knows you as a businessman but we don’t know much about other aspects of your life. Tell us, Mr. Martins, what is your favorite color?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘First of all, I’d feel more at home if you’d call me “Ife”. I love all colors but I prefer Ash the most’ he replied.
    ‘Ash? Why do you like Ash? It’s a weird color’ she took a mental rundown to the time they’d dated; he had never said anything about grey.
    ‘Of course, I am very weird and I get drawn to weird things. Ash is the color of life; the man was borne out of it and man shall return to it. We are living ashes but once our candle is blown out and our work on earth is done, we become dead ashes. Ash is a unique color and I feel I am unique, there’s no one like me’ he explained.
    She never knew he could be that poetic.
    ‘So, what’s the craziest thing you have ever done?’ Narissa asked.
    ‘I am currently doing something really crazy but I won’t disclose it. I am doing it just to win somebody’s love’ he winked. He wished he could tell her that the whole wedding thing was a lie, what if he did? What if he professed his love to her right on that stage?

    Episode Eighteen

    He wished he could tell her that the whole wedding thing was a lie, what if he did? What if he professed his love to her right on that stage?
    ‘Tell us Ife, what plans do you have for Methocorp? What do you plan to do differently?’ She asked him.
    ‘I am tired of being questioned. I’ll love to ask my own question’ he stared deep into her eyes.
    Narissa’s eyes strayed to Mrs. Arinze who’d been watching; what Ife asked of her had never been done but the nod from her boss meant she should continue.
    ‘You’re very free Ife, go on’ she offered him another smile. He noticed she smiled a lot and it never did reach her eyes.
    ‘You are a very beautiful woman Narissa. What are the qualities you like in a man?’ Ife asked.
    ‘Um, you’re diverting…’ she stuttered then stared at her boss, once again Mrs. Arinze nodded.
    ‘I like a man who is honest, hardworking and loyal; I hate cheats, liars and egomaniacs’ she replied.
    ‘Good. What if you were hurt by a man and he changed, he worked hard to be a different person just to please you. Would you forgive this man and take him back like nothing mattered?’ He pressed on and held his breath for her answer.
    He had diverted from Lavvy’s plan. He didn’t care about her plan to drive Narissa mad with jealousy; he needed to win her by himself.
    ’I will forgive him all of his crimes if he has truly repented’ tears welled up in her eyes as she answered. Why was Ife doing this to her? Why couldn’t he just leave her the hell alone? Wasn’t it enough that he had broken her heart? Now he was bent on embarrassing her on National television.
    ‘Do you love me?’ The words flew out of his mouth. He rose to his feet and moved closer to her.
    ‘What?’ Her eyes danced in confusion, what was he doing?
    ‘Please answer me’ he reached for her hands.
    ‘Oh my God! This is just like a movie, don’t you think we should shut down this interview?’ Jason said to his boss.
    ‘No, we continue, this will totally blow people out of their minds. I knew those two had something going on. I wonder why he is getting married to someone else/’ She fetched the card Ife had given to her and scanned it. Was it fake? What was his game?
    Lavvy had watched the show with disgust. How could he leave her and profess love to another? He had completely derailed from what she had planned for him and that drowned her spirits.
    She had been confident that she had total control over Ife but she was wrong. He meant it when he had told her about his love for Narissa.
    ‘He isn’t getting married’ her face darkened as she sighted the card, then she walked away.
    ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the end of this program. I hope you had a nice time’ she signaled the cameramen who quickly turned off the cameras.
    ‘Are you crazy? What do you think you’re doing?’ She pushed him away and stood up.
    ‘I love you, maybe that’s what is driving me crazy’ he smiled.
    ‘This isn’t funny. I am tired of your nonsense. You think you can just do anything and get away with it? You humiliate me at every given opportunity and rub your ego with that. Now you walk into my studio and shame me even more. I will never forgive you, Ife Martins. I hate you so much!’ Tears brimmed in her eyes as she stormed out of the cubicle.
    He stood there speechless, he had not expected that reaction. What was he to do now? He decided to follow her.  Her words clawed deeply at him and he felt really guilty.
    What had he expected? That she would just welcome him with open arms after what he did to her?
    ‘I was so stupid’ he rushed towards his car.
    ‘Narissa, please wait’ her boss tried to stop her.
    ‘No, you can have your job. I don’t want to work with you anymore. I’m sure you’re happy now, social media is going to love the spectacle!’ She slid into her car and drove away.
    Ife followed her closely; he rushed after her like his life was joined to hers. Maybe it was.
    ‘Oh my God, I shouldn’t have forced her to do that interview’ Mrs. Arinze sighed. Everything that happened was indirectly her fault, she had sensed a friction between Narissa and Ife but she was too greedy to listen.
    ‘Something terrible has happened’ one of the studio attendants rushed towards her.
    ‘Yes, what is it?’ She turned swiftly and faced him.
    ‘Jason’s…I had the urge to use the bathroom…I found Jason’ the young woman stuttered.
    ‘What happened to Jason? Go straight to the point, I don’t have time’ she fired at the young woman.
    ‘His penis was cut off. He is losing so much blood, we need to rush him to the hospital’ she said.
    ‘Oh God! All in one day? Who would do something like that? That’s horrendous!’ She yelled in fright.
    ‘I believe the right question would be, what was Jason doing in the girl’s bathroom?’ Lavender joined them.
    ‘This isn’t time for question and answer, let us rush him to the hospital’ Madam Arinze instructed then began to make calls.
    She couldn’t believe her eyes; Ife had confessed love to her friend right there on Live Television.
    ‘Oh no,’ Iman jumped to her feet. She had been right, Ife had only been trying to make Narissa jealous because she had refused to forgive him.
    ‘Just like in the movies’ she felt happy for her friend. Narissa was still in love with him so maybe this was the chance for them to work things out.
    Suddenly the doorbell rang. She wondered who it could be, she wasn’t expecting anyone.
    ‘Who’s there?’ She called out before moving towards the door.
    ‘It’s me, Narissa’s father’s driver’ The male voice replied.
    ‘Narissa’s father’s driver?’ Iman rolled her eyes as she opened the door.
    ‘Are you Ekene?’ She noticed a striking resemblance between this man and Obinna. This had to be the Ekene she had heard so much about.
    ‘Yes, please I’ll like to see Narissa. Is she in?’ He asked politely.
    ‘Hmm, no, would you want to wait for her?’  Iman opened the door wide.
    ‘Okay,’ he moved into the house.
    ‘So when last did you hear from your sister Asa?’ Iman asked as she brought him a glass of juice.
    ‘Who are you and how do you know Asa?’ He was surprised.
    ‘Let’s say that I am Obinna’s friend’ she shrugged. She had not met Ekene officially.
    ‘Wait, are you the girl he is dating? I think I have heard your name before, are you Iman?’ Ekene asked.
    ‘Yes,’ she nodded.
    A smile played on his lips, he was about to ask her another question when the door flew wide open and Narissa trotted in.
    ‘Narissa, are you okay?’ Iman rose to her feet.
    Narissa didn’t reply, she broke into sobs immediately she stepped into the house. Ife had humiliated her beyond measure; she didn’t know how to fight back.
    ‘Narissa, what happened? Please talk to us’ Ekene bent over her. He had known something was wrong with her when she had come over to his house; what caused her this much pain?
    ‘It’s Ife, your friend. He is bent on ruining my life. I hate him for the monster that he is’ she cried bitterly.

    Episode Nineteen

     ‘It’s Ife, your friend. He is bent on ruining my life. I hate him for the monster that he is’ she cried bitterly.
    Moments later, the door flew wide opened and Ife stepped into the house. His heart was pained as he saw her crying, he was the cause of that pain and he prayed she forgave him.
    ‘What are you doing here?’ She rose to her feet as anger blazed her.
    ‘Please forgive me, I can explain everything’ he swallowed and scanned the faces in the room.
    His eyes fell on the betrayer he once considered friend.
    ‘What the hell are you doing here, you criminal?’ Ife moved towards Ekene and launched him a blow; it sent him sprawling on the floor.
    ‘Stop! What do you think you’re doing?’ Narissa and Iman screamed.
    ‘So you are that desperate to win her love’ Ife raised him up and punched him hard in the belly.
    ‘Stay away from me, Ife. I have no interest in her; I only came to check on her. You have already taken everything away from me, this show of power isn’t necessary’ Ekene warned.
    ‘You bloody liar’ Ife punched him one more time.
    ‘Ok then. Tell her everything, tell her about the bet’ Ekene groaned as he steadied himself.
    ‘What bet? What are you talking about?’ Narissa stared at the two men.
    Ife quickly realized what was happening; why was Ekene so wicked? Why would he ruin everything completely?
    ‘I challenged him to sleep with you and he agreed. He even recorded your lovemaking session but later destroyed it. He is vile and wicked; please stay away from him Narissa’ Ekene spat out blood.
    ‘Oh my God’ Iman covered her mouth as she listened to Ekene’s confession.
    ‘Please tell me this isn’t true, deny this Ife’ more tears streamed down her cheeks as she stared at him.
    He found himself looking into her eyes; he had followed her home so he could profess his love to her and not this.
    How could he stare into those innocent eyes and feed her with lies? Yes, Ekene was right but that was his past. Would she ever forgive him?
    In his mind’s eye, he saw the love he harbored for her getting squashed, just the way one would smash a fruit. He loved her but he was sure of this, Narissa would never love him after this.
    ‘I am sorry, please forgive me’ those were the only words that fell from his mouth before he turned around and ran out of the house.
    ‘I hate him so much! Why didn’t I listen to you, Iman?’ Narissa dropped on the floor and cried.
    ‘I am so sorry Narissa, it was all his idea’ Ekene said.
    ‘You better get the hell out of my house before I call the police on you and make sure you stop working for my parents. I don’t ever want to see you around’ she warned him.
    ‘Get out, fool’ Iman joined.
    He swallowed deeply and stepped out of the house. What had happened wasn’t his fault. Ife had started the fight and he said what he said in self-defense.
    He needed to get out of town, he needed to run as far as his legs could carry him. He knew Ife very well, he would come back for him and he would hit very hard.
    Days had passed since the encounter with Narissa; he had given up totally, she would never forgive him nor take him back now.
    He knew it was all over for him; he was this close to winning her heart when Ekene stabbed him in the back yet again. But was it really Ekene’s fault that his relationship with Narissa had ended in a disaster?
    ‘I was such a fool’ Ife muttered to himself. He found it difficult to go to work; he couldn’t step out of the house, he was greatly ashamed of what he had done to Narissa.
    He had been carried away by his ego and foolish pride; he devalued her, made her feel unworthy of his love and now he would pay for humiliating her.
    Her eyes had searched his for answers; begging for him to deny the allegation Ekene fired at him but he couldn’t lie. He wasn’t brave enough to look an angel in the eye and tell a lie. Narissa was his angel, the angel he had lost.
    He had been angry and bitter for days, sleep eluded him as he thought of good ways to destroy Ekene, the way he destroyed his chances with Rissa but none came to mind. Only shame did. He was to blame for everything and not Ekene.
    ‘If you continue this way, you’ll drink yourself to death’ his father strolled towards him. Ife had maintained a permanent seat close to the cellar. He chose to drown his loss and sorrow in the river of wine, for with intoxication came relief. Drunk men supposedly had bad memory.
    ‘Father’ he swallowed a glass of Brandy.
    ‘I’ve been made to understand that you have refused to continue with the Media assessment program, do I have a reason to question your competence?’ His father pulled a seat next to him.
    ‘I…I can’t do it anymore, maybe next year, we can all start afresh’ he pushed the empty bottle aside and fetched another one.
    ‘Stop this, will you! Stop acting like a child. Only weak men seek refuge in alcohol. You are not weak, you are Ife Martins’ his father’s voice was stern, sharp like a sword. It brought him back to life.
    ‘You don’t understand father; I’ve lost everything, I have lost her’ tears welled up in his eyes.
    ‘I know, I watched the program. The news is everywhere, trust the media. I am a bit surprised though, that same Narissa was arranged for you and you refused her. I really don’t understand you Ife’ the old man narrowed his brows.
    ‘I was stupid and careless; now I see the light. Narissa is my light and I love her so much but she doesn’t feel same for me anymore. She would never love me father. Can’t you see? I have lost everything’ he swallowed and thought of what his life would be like without her.
    ‘What really happened?’ the man asked.
    ‘I hurt her very much and I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me’ Ife replied, he couldn’t go into details, he knew his father would be greatly ashamed of him.
    ‘Okay, seems you don’t want to talk about it but I can tell you this one truth, making mistakes like hurting others is human. No man is perfect, we have all hurt one person or the other before. The degree of hurt may vary but it is still the same pain we inflict on others.
    You must forgive yourself to be forgiven’ the man paused.
    ‘Forgive myself to be forgiven? I don’t understand’ Ife widened his tear-filled eyes.
    ‘Whatever you did to her is eating you up; guilt has built a castle in your heart but you must fight it. Forgive yourself, remember that you are human. Once you do this, you’ll feel better’ he advised.
    ‘Thank you father, your words always lift my spirits’ Ife felt slightly better after speaking with his father.
    ‘Good. Now go have a bath, you reek of alcohol. You must stand up and be a man’ he gave Ife a pat on the back and walked away.
    ‘Forgive me’ he repeated the words.
    His phone buzzed, he drew a breath and realized that he had not taken his calls for some days now.

    Episode Twenty

    His phone buzzed, he drew a breath and realized that he had not taken his calls for some days now.
    ‘Lavvy’ he drawled her name. What did she want now? He had paid her off for the services she had rendered.
    She sent him an invite for a chat.
    Lavvy: We need to talk, you ruined everything because you failed to follow my plans.
    Ife: What now? It’s too late for this. Narissa would never have me again. So thanks once again for your services.
    Lavvy: Why would you say that?’
    Ife: You won’t understand. Thanks for your services Lavender. I would love it if you’d stop calling my phone or texting.
    Lavvy: What? That’s crazy, are you going to dump me like that? After everything, I did for you?
    Ife:???? I paid you for every piece of advice and information given. What are you talking about?
    Lavvy: I made sacrifices Ife. I did things that I wouldn’t normally do just to keep up the game. You need to appreciate that.
    Ife: That’s why I rewarded you handsomely. This conversation is over.
    Lavvy: No it cannot be. You cannot leave me dry and hanging. I did everything because I cared about you. Now Narissa is out of the way, you need to focus on me. I like you Ife, I know you like me too. Let’s stop the pretense.
    Ife:???? I really have to go now. I don’t have time for this.
    Lavvy: Hello? Ife? Did you block me? Ife?
    ‘Crazy bitch’ Ife turned off his phone and left for the bathroom. Lavender sounded quite different. She was talking nonsense. It was laughable but he wasn’t in the mood to laugh.
    He was mourning. Mourning for lost love.
    It had been days since the encounter and shocking revelation by Ekene; she had begged him to deny it, she had begged him to say something different but he hadn’t. He stared into her eyes and she found the answers there, even as he rushed out of the house like a coward.
    That she was hurt was an understatement; what she felt was beyond hurt; she was bitter, in pain and she felt absolutely stupid. So they had bet away her dignity? Her integrity as a woman. And she had fallen so easily.
    ‘How are you holding up?’ Iman joined her on the bed.
    ‘I am trying’ Narissa answered with a sigh. What was she supposed to say? The news of Ife asking if she still loved him was all over the internet; coupled with the disturbing news she had just heard about Jason’s death. Who could have committed such a horrendous crime and why?
    ‘So many things have happened these past few days; I am still trying to absorb and accept all of it. I can’t believe Jason is dead; I received the shocking news this morning from my boss. He was found in the female bathroom, he was mutilated’ she added.
    ‘That’s gruesome! What was he doing in the female bathroom anyway?’ Iman rolled her eyes.
    ‘I don’t know, that’s for the detectives to figure out’ Narissa replied.
    ‘And you? Are you still thinking about Ife’ Iman knew Narissa wasn’t prepared to talk about her ex but she could see her friend was hurting and it was better to talk so she could feel relieved?
    ‘How is Obinna?’ Narissa avoided eye contact with her friend. Something else bothered her about Ife. Even though he had broken her heart and humiliated her, she still had a soft spot for him.
    ‘Baby, talk to me’ Iman wouldn’t budge.
    ‘What do you want me to say? I am hurting and I feel humiliated. It hurts Iman, it really hurts. I hate him so much, yet I find myself thinking about him. Isn’t that stupid? I wish I never met Ife’ tears welled up in her eyes.
    ‘I know. I know you still love him, maybe you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself’ Iman moved close to her.
    ‘It’s all my fault. I let him in and he hurt me’ Narissa returned.
    ‘Hey, you have to forget that. I saw the way he looked at you when he came to the house, I think he really is sorry, maybe you should call him’ Iman fiddled with her hands, hoping her friend wouldn’t be pissed off by her suggestion.
    ‘Sorry? No, he wasn’t sorry; if he was, why didn’t he say something? He just ran out of the house like a coward, I fucking hate him’ she cussed.
    ‘What else did you want him to do? I’d do same in his shoes, what he did to you was shameful. I saw the way his eyes ran over you while you interviewed him, your fans are saying you should go for him’ Iman fetched her phone and handed it to Narissa.
    ‘A hundred thousand tweets? God, how can they even be on Ife’s side?’ She read many comments from fans who had watched the interview. Words like “Power couple”, “Naija Jayz and Bey”, “Perfect match” trended on the internet as well as pictures of her and Ife.
    ‘Yea, you know, now I see it, you’re perfect for each other’ Iman smiled.
    ‘Whose side are you on? You never liked Ife’ Narissa arched a brow.
    ‘I am on your side Narissa, I want the best for you. I think you should forgive him. Nobody knows about the recording, Ekene confessed he had destroyed it; the media don’t know shit about it. I know it’s difficult but I feel he is a changed person’ Iman advised.
    ‘Changed? Did I tell you about the wedding cards? He gave my boss one, then asked if I still loved him. Who does that?’ She snorted.
    ‘A ploy to only get you jealous. Wake up Narissa, you aren’t that dumb to believe he was actually getting married. He only wanted to see if you still had feelings for him. I know you love this guy, maybe you should give him another chance’ Iman said.
    ‘Enough of Ife right now, let’s talk about something else’ she needed a breath of fresh air.
    ‘Okay, whatever you like’ Iman threw her hands in the air.
    ‘Excuse me, I have to take this’ Narrissa fetched her buzzing phone, she had a text.
    ‘Oh my God, I have to go. I’ll be back soon’ she jumped off the bed to Iman’s amazement.
    ‘Jackie Chan much?’ Iman lifted a brow.
    ‘My boss just sent me a message, she’s asking if I would like to see Jason’s body before he is taken away by his family. I really have to go, he was a good friend of mine’ she dressed up hurriedly.
    ‘Sorry dear. I understand. I hope the policeis doing something about this’ Iman rubbed her chin.
    ‘Of course, sooner or later, all of us at Sunshine Spring Media will be called in for questioning’  Narissa fetched her keys.
    ‘Okay. Goodluck, what should I prepare for lunch?’ Iman called after her.
    ‘Porridge yam and snails, that’s what I crave for’ she waved and jumped into her car.
    ‘Sure baby’ Iman returned the wave.
    She watched as her friend disappeared. She prayed Narissa found peace.

    Episode Twenty-One

    She watched as her friend disappeared. She prayed Narissa found peace.
    He glued his screen to his phone as he checked out her pictures; he was supposed to forget her, he had hurt her enough, but he found it difficult to do so. How easy was it to forget someone you had come to love?
    ‘Still thinking of your boo?’ His father strolled into the living room.
    ‘Something like that. I am scared of asking for forgiveness, she’ll never take me back. She will never reconsider, maybe I should just forget her’ he dropped the phone and rested his head in his hands.
    ‘The problem is that you cannot forgive yourself. You are scared of what a bleak future it would be without her. I’ve been there before son and I know this, uncertainty is a very dark place. Light only comes by trying, by facing your greatest fear’ the old man replied.
    ‘So what do I do?’ Ife looked into his eyes.
    ‘You face your fear. Go find that young woman and do whatever it takes to get her back. Roll on the floor, cry blood, just be sincere in whatever you do’ he explained further.
    ‘What if that doesn’t work out? What if she still rejects me?’ Ife asked.
    ‘Maybe you should start with facing your fear. That’s Step 1, when you’re done, we can move on to the next.’
    ‘Uhm, someone is at the door, let me get it’ the old man trudged towards the door.
    ‘I am going to face my fear’ he muttered to himself.
    ‘Ife? This visitor is for you’ he heard his father call.
    ‘Visitor?’ He rose to his feet and marched towards the door, he wasn’t expecting anyone.
    For one split second, he entertained the possibility of Narissa coming to see him. Fantasy! Fantasy! He chuckled. Fantasy was short-term madness.
    ‘Lavender? What are you doing here and how did you get my address?’ His eyes went wide as he stood facing his ex-relationship advisor.
    ‘I’ll have to leave you two now, I am in my room if you need me’ his father patted him on the back and walked away.
    ‘Hello darling’ she smiled seductively.
    ‘Darling? Are you crazy? What do you want?’ His voice was stern.
    ‘You should, at least, invite me in. I am not a vampire, I don’t bite’ she winked.
    ‘No way in hell I am letting you into this house. State your purpose and be gone’ he replied sharply.
    ‘I can’t believe this, you’re such an ingrate! Do you know the things I have done? The things I have endured to make sure your plans for Narissa worked’ her face colored. She was angry, she was mad.
    ‘I paid you dammit! I paid you money. Is there something else you want?’ He wondered why she kept acting like she had done him a favor.
    ‘I want your love Ife, can’t you see? Narissa isn’t the woman for you. It’s me you should love’ she fell on her knees.
    ‘You’re crazy. You hear that? Now get the hell out of my house before I call security’ he yelled at her.
    ‘Call security? I got raped times without number just to make sure your plans worked. I sacrificed’ she licked her lips nervously.
    ‘Got raped? Well, I don’t know anything about that. Just get out of my house and don’t ever come back’ he was irritated by her.
    ‘Really? Is that how you’re going to end this? You used me and you’re now dumping me?’ She stared at him looking for something, something concrete, something that wasn’t there. Something he couldn’t give.
    ‘Yes. Go, Lavender, you’re not needed or welcome here’ he sighed and shut the door.
    ‘Goodbye Ife’ she swallowed and swirled around.
    ‘Shit! This is all my fault. I should never have gone to that demented girl for help’ he fell to the floor.
    His whole life was now a mess; he needed to find Narissa and beg for her forgiveness.
    He fetched his car keys and rushed towards his car, uncertainty was darkness and he was prepared to see the light.
    She had been busy in the kitchen preparing lunch when the doorbell rang; Narissa had been out longer than she’d expected.
    ‘Finally’ she sighed then hurried towards the door.
    ‘You’re back baby, how did it go?’ She pulled open the door, her mouth gaped in surprise.
    ‘Ife, welcome’ she almost smiled.
    ‘Please, I’ll like to see Narissa; please forgive me, I am really sorry for what happened the other day’ he apologized.
    ‘Hey, come on in. She’s out but she will soon be back, I hope you’ll wait for her’ she ushered him in.
    ‘I will wait for her’ he replied and followed her lead.
    ‘How is she?’ he asked as he settled into a seat.
    ‘Managing, how are you?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Managing’ he nodded.
    ‘Good. You both are trending online. People think you’re amazing for each other’ Iman beamed.
    ‘Really? I haven’t had time to visit Twitter or Instagram, it’s a real gossip mill’ he rolled his eyes.
    ‘Oh, do you really love Narissa with all your heart?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Yes. I do. I realize I have been a fool. I just wish she’ll hear me out. I wish she would give me another chance’ he was really sorry for the way he treated her.
    ‘But I heard you were getting married’ Iman chipped in.
    ‘That, that was another stupid move by me. I assure you, I am not getting married. I only did that to…’ he stuttered.
    ‘Get her jealous?’ Iman raised her brows.
    ‘Yes. But everything backfired’ he replied.
    Iman offered him some juice. They talked some more and she even revealed she had never liked him for her friend, but she now thought different.
    ‘I believe everyone deserves a second chance, just don’t mess yours up’ she said.
    ‘I won’t dare. I love Narissa so much, her kind of woman is rare’ he replied.
    ‘Yea’ Iman nodded.
    ‘Excuse me’ he took out his buzzing phone from his pocket.
    ‘Are you okay?’ Iman noticed the frown and confusion that washed his features.
    ‘I just received a text from Narissa’ he looked up.
    ‘A text? What does it say?’ Iman rolled her eyes, she had not expected that.
    ‘That we should meet up at Daisywheel hospital, she has forgiven me and is willing to take me back’ he read the text aloud.
    ‘Oh, she is actually at the hospital right now with her boss. Someone was murdered in their office. Some guy who was found mutilated in the ladies bathroom’ Iman filled him in.
    ‘What was he doing in the ladies bathroom?’ He wondered.
    ‘Same question I asked. I hate to judge but I feel he was a rapist and that’s why his penis was chopped off’ Iman rose to her feet, she still had something on fire.
    ‘Rapist?’ The words rang in his ears as he suddenly remembered Lavender’s words. A sick feeling crept up his spine.
    ‘I guess I have to go now. I hope she accepts me back’ he drank hurriedly from the glass and dropped it.
    ‘Good luck. Just be sincere’ Iman advised and led him towards the door.
    ‘Excuse me’ she pulled out her phone, it cried shrilly.
    The number seemed strange, she had not seen it before but she took the call anyway.
    ‘Hello, Iman Abdullahi on the line? Who am I speaking with?’
    ‘Sorry to disturb you but Narissa listed you as next of kin on some of her documents. I know you guys are good friends, that’s why I am calling you’ the woman replied.
    ‘I forced and threatened Narissa to do the interview with Ife Martins. She has not shown up in the office for some days now and I am worried about her. I have tried her number severally but it is out of reach. Please, may I speak with her now?’

    Episode Twenty-Two

    I have tried her number severally but it is out of reach. Please, may I speak with her now?’
    It was Ife’s turn to wonder why Iman wore such a frightened expression.
    ‘She isn’t around at the moment but I’ll tell her you called’ she replied.
    ‘Thanks. Tell her Mrs. Arinze called’ the woman broke the call.
    ‘Ife…’ Iman drew a deep breath as she sank into a chair.
    ‘What is it?’ He asked.
    ‘I think Narissa may be in trouble’ she swallowed.
    ‘Trouble? How? What happened?’ He was confused.
    ‘She told me her boss had texted her, asking for a meeting at the hospital; the same boss just called me asking for Narissa. Isn’t that weird? Plus that text message you received, what if it isn’t Narissa? I am so scared’ Iman paced the room.
    ‘Maybe we should call her parents’ he suggested.
    ‘No, no, I don’t want to raise their blood pressure’ Iman differed.
    ‘So what do we do?’ Ife asked.
    ‘We need to go to the police but first, you must reply that text. Don’t call her, just reply and tell her you would be at Daisywheel in twenty minutes. That should buy us enough time’ Iman advised.
    ‘Okay. Okay,’ he fetched his phone and did as he was told. If Narissa was in trouble and something bad happened to her, he’d never forgive himself.
    Tears rolled her eyes as she scanned the darkness; where was she? All she remembered was a text from her boss who had asked for them to meet at Daisywheel hospital so she could see Jason.
    On arriving the texted address, a black car pulled up close to her and some men dragged her in but not without first taking her phone.
    Was Ife behind this? She had been kidnapped obviously. How will her poor father live the rest of his life knowing his daughter had been killed?
    Tears rolled down her cheeks as she thought of possible suspects; only Ife came to mind.
    But why would he kidnap her? Did he have any dark side that made him think this was romantic?
    He had claimed to be in love with her but this was not the way to treat the person you loved; you don’t drag them into a dark room, you didn’t leave them there to rot.
    ‘Lord help me out of this’ her lips moved.
    The men that had taken her where armed and masked, there was no way she could recognize any of them; she was lost in a sea of bleakness, a sea of darkness and there was no one to save her.
    The men had snatched her phone from her hands. Were they going to ask for ransom?
    Suddenly, the door creaked and a flood of sunshine filled the room where she was being held captive.
    ‘Hello beauty’ a masked man stepped into the room.
    ’Please don’t hurt me, don’t kill me. I promise to do whatever you say. If you want money, I can give you lots of it’ she begged.
    ‘I want something else’ he murmured then took off his mask.
    ‘What do you want?’ Fear gripped her as she stared into his lust-filled eyes.
    ‘Take off your clothes, I like it rough’ he ordered.

    ‘Are you sure we shouldn’t tell her parents? They deserve to know what’s happening’ Ife suggested as they both arrived the police station.
    ‘No, we can handle this ourselves’ Iman stepped out of the car before he could dissuade her.
    Ife was a man of great influence, it didn’t take them minutes to file their case; special men were assigned to help them out.
    ‘Please sir, I promise my men are the best and they would work very hard so your lover would be found in no time’ the D.P.O said to him.
    ‘Good. Thank you’ Ife nodded and joined the men outside.
    ‘So why do you think it’s a case of kidnapping? What if it’s just a mix of events or your fear speaking to you?’ One of the men asked.
    ‘Mr Dokubo, this is not fear or coincidence. She left this morning and promised to be back for lunch, it’s evening now.  The said boss she had left to meet called me hours ago asking to speak with her. Is that fear?’ Iman was irritated they would disbelieve her.
    ‘It’s not fear, detective Dokubo, she even texted me an address and when I tried calling her; the number was switched off. She has been abducted’ Ife replied.
    ‘Ok. But if these people kidnapped her, why would they want you to come to the same location? If truly they were kidnappers, they’d be asking for ransom and not your presence’ Mr Dokubo carefully stated out the facts.
    ‘That’s true, I never thought of that’ Ife rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
    ‘What’s your relationship with Ms. Narissa?’ He asked.
    ‘She is…she was my girlfriend’ he stammered.
    ‘Was? What happened?’ Mr Dokubo asked
    ‘Is that really necessary?’ Ife felt uncomfortable talking to the police about his relationship.
    ‘Yes. Tell us everything, we are very professional and whatever you say here remains with us; we understand that you and Ms Narissa are public figures so we must act professionally’ the detective replied.
    ‘Okay. We dated for some time and I broke up with her. I wasn’t in love with her then but now I am and I want her back. Our parents even wanted us to get married’ he paused as his phone buzzed again.
    ‘Okay. So, do you have any enemies? Who would want to kidnap her?’ Mr Dokubo asked.
    ‘I think I know who’ his heart raced as he read the text message from Lavender.
    I am going to get your bitch. You’ll regret ever meeting me. Lavvy pussy.
    ‘Lavender? Who is she to you? An ex girlfriend?’ The detective asked.
    ‘No, a stupid mistake I made’ he replied and went on to explain what had transpired between himself and Lavender.
    ‘So this woman, who gave you strategies on how to win Narissa back but now has feelings for you, shows up at your house and texts to threaten you? She is very desperate, you know?’ Mr Dokubo clicked his tongue.
    ‘Of course she is. You need to arrest her immediately’ Ife urged them.
    ‘I don’t think she is the one behind this’ Mr Dokubo rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
    ‘Why would you think that? Isn’t it obvious?’ Iman cut in impatiently.
    ‘You see, crime is very complicated. The one you thought did it most times turns out to be innocent’ Mr Dokubo explained.
    ‘Then find out who did it. We don’t know where my friend is, we have to find her, what if those people rape her or kill her?’ Iman swallowed at the thought of it.
    Ife shut his eyes and prayed his Narissa wouldn’t get hurt.
    ‘I’ve sent my men, they are working on it’ Mr Dokubo replied.
    Minutes later, one of them returned with a file and presented it to him.
    ‘It does seem like this Lavvy woman is a lot of trouble. A case had been opened about a man found dead at Sunshine Spring Media; I have seen statements by all workers there except Narissa and Lavender, something fishy is going on here’ he shut the file and rose to his feet.
    ‘I told you, that girl is crazy’ Ife said.
    ‘Do you know how to shoot a gun?’ Detective Dokubo asked Ife.
    ‘Yes. I learned how to a long time ago. Why do you ask?’
    ‘You will be given a gun and you would go to Daisywheel hospital, my men will hide somewhere and watch, just in case’ he started then paused as Iman interrupted him.
    ‘And how about Lavender, does she go scot free? She is obviously behind this’ Iman pointed out.
    ‘That’s where we’re all headed; we’ll go find her before going to Daisywheel’ Mr Dokubo replied.

    Episode Twenty-Three

    ‘That’s where we’re all headed; we’ll go find her before going to Daisywheel’ Mr. Dokubo replied
    The man bundled her up and begun to fondle her breasts; tears welled up in her eyes as she imagined the pain that was to come.
    ‘I love to fuck light-skinned women. They are hot and their pussy is so creamy’ the thug groaned as he squeezed her breasts.
    ‘Please don’t do this to me’ she sobbed and tried to struggle but he wouldn’t stop. Her tears seemed to arouse him the more.
    ‘Cry baby, I love it when you cry’ his rough hands slipped into her dress and unhooked her bra. He pulled off her top, pushed her on the floor and begun to undress.
    The door was still wide open, no one was there.
    ‘Freeze over, you motherf**ker’ Narissa watched in shock as another masked man stood behind and pointed a gun at the rapist.
    ‘Come on man, you shouldn’t do this. I am just trying to have some fun’ the thug replied.
    ‘Fun? We were warned not to touch her’
    ‘This girl is hot; I know you want to fuck her too. We could do a threesome, you fuck her in the house and I take the pussy’ he replied.
    Narissa cringed within as she thought of two men raping her at once.
    ‘Rot in hell perv!’ The other man pulled the trigger, her attacker fell to the ground.
    ‘Wear your clothes bitch and pray that motherf**ker shows up, else, you’re dead’ he scowled.
    ‘Who?’ Her voice was low and weak, what was the thug talking about?
    ‘Ife your boyfriend’ he replied then shut the door forcefully, leaving her with the dead man.
    ‘Oh my God’ she cried as his blood dripped towards where she sat. Ife was really behind this, she hated him the more.
    ‘Mr Martins, I have been informed that there is no hospital by the name Daisywheel, so you were right, it’s a case of kidnapping’ Dokubo informed them as they arrived Lavender’s premises.
    ‘Does that mean we won’t be able to find her?’ He felt horrible.
    ‘Of course, we will find her. Daisywheel was a big hospital back in the day but it was closed down by the government because most of the doctors were not properly licensed. The dilapidated building and what remains of it is where your girlfriend is being held captive’ Dokubo replied.
    ‘Daisywheel, I can swear that I have never heard that name before’ Iman sighed. Narissa had walked into a lion’s den in broad daylight, she prayed her friend would step out unhurt.
    ‘Open this door this minute!’ The policemen rammed the door of Lavender’s house. They had extracted her address from her employee file at Sunshine Spring Media.
    ‘Are you sure we are at the right house?’ Iman whispered to Ife as they stepped down from the police van.
    ‘Yes, I know she is behind this. I promise you, Narissa will be fine’ he faced Iman.
    ‘And who the fuck wants to pull my house down?’ Lavender pulled the door open.
    ‘Ms. Lavender, you are under arrest…’ one of the men trailed as he realized she was terribly drunk.
    ‘What’s going on here?’ Detective Dokubo moved to the scene.
    ‘Sir, the suspect is drunk and not in her right mind’ the officer replied.
    ‘That doesn’t matter; we are taking her with us. She must provide information about Narissa’ Dokubo gave his orders.
    She staggered as the policemen dragged her out of the house. Her sunken eyes came to live when she spotted Ife.
    ‘You fool, I made a lot of sacrifices for you’ she belched.
    ‘What is she talking about?’ Dokubo noticed a guilty look on Ife’s face.
    ‘Nothing’ he murmured.
    ‘He raped me all the time; I couldn’t let him tell Narissa what you were up to. So when I knew I’d lost you, I chopped off his dick. My, my, cutting off that organ was the sweetest thing ever’ she ranted.
    ‘Oh my God, that’s despicable’ Iman felt nauseous. So this was the person behind Jason’s death? She wished Narissa was there to hear it herself.
    ‘Wow, I guess we just found the murderer of Jason Onoja; take her to the station and keep her under lock and key’ Dokubo gave the order and then turned to Ife: ‘Get into the car, let’s go get your girl. I would have taken Lavender along but she won’t be much use to us in that state. Remember what I told you?’
    ‘Yes, that I would go into the building while you trail behind or hide somewhere’ Ife replied.
    ‘Good’ Dokubo raised his thumb.
    ‘Ife, you don’t have to do this if you aren’t comfortable, it’s quite risky’ Iman whispered to him.
    ‘I’ll rather die than be without Narissa. Besides, this is my fault; I am ready to do this’ he assured her.
    ‘Okay,’ Iman replied weakly.
    Edna was busy in her garden as usual; she pruned the roses, watered the flower beds and planted some more flowers. She worked in her garden whenever her husband was asleep or had gone for a meeting somewhere.
    She suddenly missed her stepdaughter Narissa and decided she would call her once she got done with work.
    It seemed like yesterday when they had been arch enemies but now they were best of friends. She had not been the best stepmother and she understood why Narissa hated her so much, but she had learnt her lesson and had genuinely repented from her cruel ways.
    She had planned a marriage for Narissa out of her own selfish desires; she had wanted her to marry Ife Martins so she could have a fair share of his wealth to see her through old age.
    She felt ashamed for how she had behaved in the past; she loved Narissa very much now and cared for her deeply. She wanted Narissa to end up with the man she loved and not the man her parents cajoled her to marry.
    ‘Honey’ her husband trudged into the garden.
    ‘Yes dear, you are awake’ she noticed.
    ‘I have not seen Ekene for two days now, I just checked his room and realized his things are no longer there’ the man explained.
    ‘Really? Why would he leave like that?’ She dropped her gardening fork.
    ‘I don’t know, did you say something to him? Something that could have gotten him upset’ He asked.
    ‘No, why would you even think that? I treated him like my own son’ she felt offended that he would see her that way.
    ‘Young people of these days! He should simply have told us that he didn’t want to work here anymore, instead of just disappearing’ he hissed angrily.
    ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get another driver. We could talk to Narissa about it, she knows a lot of people’ Edna suggested.
    ‘Good idea. I’ll call her later’ he nodded in agreement.
    She had cried out all the strength left in her; she felt weak, her head swirled in spiral motion. For how long would these men keep her here? She was quite sure evening had come.
    As she entertained her thoughts, she heard loud gunshots, a feeling of fear crept to her neck and spread all over her body. She cringed in fear.
    After the gunshots, she heard loud arguing, voices clashed with voices; then more gunshots.
    ‘Oh my God, please don’t let me die here’ she cried.
    The door flung open once again and light shone into the dark room where she had been kept.
    ‘Get up, we are leaving’ a masked man stood before her.
    She rose to her feet and walked towards him on wobbly legs; there was something oddly familiar about the man. His voice. Even his stature. Was it Ife? No, Ife was taller than him but she knew she had met this person before.
    ‘Please don’t hurt me’ her lips shivered as she begged.
    ‘I won’t hurt you, someone else will’ he replied then pulled off his mask.
    ‘Ekene? Oh my God, you kidnapped me?’ Her mouth fell wide open as she recognized him.

    Episode Twenty-Four

    ‘Ekene? Oh my God, you kidnapped me?’ Her mouth fell wide open as she recognized him.
    ‘Yes but the men I worked with spoilt my plans’ he winked and gripped her hand firmly. He had called his old cult brothers to help him kidnap Narissa, they had agreed to work with him yet they tried to outsmart him.
    He had arranged the text message she had received, the one that had lured her to the lonely road and dilapidated building. He had left the boys for a while to fetch more guns for their security; he returned to see that one of them was gone and the other two expressed disinterest in the matter.
    ‘You either work with me or you die’ that’s what he had told them and they had fetched their guns to attack him but they had not been fast enough.
    ‘Why are you doing this?’ Narissa swallowed. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
    ‘Ife is a billionaire, he will pay’ Ekene replied. He was actually repaying Ife for humiliating him and sacking him from Methocorp. No one dealt Ekenechukwu a blow and walked away.
    ‘Please, you don’t have to do this’ she cried.
    ‘Well, we need to hurry out of here; I expect the police to show up sooner or later. I thought Ife would be here by now, I texted him the address too’ Ekene prodded her forward.
    ‘Are you sure you can do this, Ife?’ Iman was scared for him.
    ‘I will. If anything happens to me in there, tell her that I love her; tell the world about my love for Narissa’ he clutched the gun tightly and hurried away from the van.
    ‘Remember we are right behind you’ Dokubo and some officers trailed behind.
    He nodded and kept walking. The road was lonely and there was a thick bush by the side.
    ‘Daisywheel’ he muttered as he spotted the large building with an old rusty signpost in front. The building was covered with wild weeds; some of its windows had been removed, so were some doors.
    He took a deep breath, he didn’t know what awaited him inside but he was willing to lay down his life for the woman he loved.
    He increased his steps and walked into the building; the floors were cracked, reptiles ran around freely and it had a muddy scent.
    ‘Is anybody here?’ Narissa’ he called, then quickly hid his gun.
    ‘Hello?’ He waited.
    There was no sign of life, was he in the wrong place? He fetched his phone and ran his eyes over the text message Narissa’s captives had sent him.
    ‘Raise your hands and turn around else I shoot her’ heavy footsteps were the only sounds that he heard.
    He knew the owner of that voice; even in death, he would recognize it. He felt a sharp pain as he realized Ekene had been the kidnapper and not Lavender.
    ‘Ife’ Narissa’s eyes grew wide as she stared at him. Why had he come for her? Her heart raced as she imagined Ekene hurting him. No, she didn’t want that. Ife was many things, he was the devil that had broken her heart, but she didn’t want him to die. She had forgiven him completely when she realized he had nothing to do with her kidnapping.
    ‘Ekene, you don’t have to do this, please release her to me. Name your price, I will pay you whatever you want’ he fell on his knees and pleaded.
    ‘That’s right, you are talking but we have a little problem’ he dragged Narissa along with him and peered out the window.
    ‘What is it?’ Ife followed his gaze.
    ‘Why didn’t you drive? Where is your car?’ Ekene asked. He wasn’t a fool.
    ‘It developed a fault on my way here, I can take you to the place I parked it’ Ife replied.
    ‘Really?’ Ekene eyed him suspiciously.
    ‘Yes. I swear’ Ife replied.
    ‘I have a better plan now’ Ekene smiled. He had planned to kill Ife, then extort money from Narissa’s family. Ife’s death would serve as a revenge for the things he had done to him but he had a better idea.
    ‘I need a hundred million dollars before I release her to you; I need the international passport and checkbooks you seized. Once you have all I have asked for, I shall release her to you unharmed’ he made a list of what he needed.
    He planned to flee Nigeria, once this was arranged. He knew Ife had come alone, he had sent him a text to make it look like Narissa had wanted to meet with him.
    ‘Is that all?’ Ife asked.
    ‘Yes’ Ekene nodded.
    ‘Can I just kiss her before I go?’ Ife requested.
    ‘You have one minute. Meanwhile, if you involve the police, I will know and I will kill her immediately’ he released and pushed her forward.
    ‘I am so sorry baby, it’s all my fault. I promise you won’t die, I will do all he has asked’ Ife hugged her tightly. Her eyes were scared and she had bloodstains on her dress. Fear gripped him and he wondered if she had been assaulted.
    ‘I am so sorry for pushing you away. I love you Ife’ she cried hard against him.
    ‘You love me?’ His heart fluttered at her confession.
    ‘Yes and I have forgiven you for everything’ she pulled away from him and stared into his eyes.
    ‘You have forgiven me?’ Tears welled up in his eyes as she stared at him with kindness and sincere love. How could she forgive after all he had done to her?
    ‘Time up lovers! I need my money’ Ekene yelled.
    ‘Okay, be strong. We’ll get out of this’ Ife pressed a soft kiss on her bruised lips.
    ‘Not too fast’ Dokubo and the other men rushed in.
    ‘What is this? I warned you Ife, I will kill her’ Ekene was taken by surprise.
    ‘Put your gun down, your life will be spared’ Dokubo and his men neared him.
    He took a deep breath and swallowed; Ife had deceived him. Ife had played tricks on him; now he was outnumbered.
    ‘Put the gun down, I’m saying that for the last time’ Dokubo warned.
    ‘You betrayed me’ his hands shook as he stared at Ife, what fate awaited him once the police arrested him?
    ‘Just put the gun down, you have lost the battle Ekene’ Ife replied and stared at Narissa who was still in his arms.
    ‘I will kill you both’ his hands went to the trigger and a shot was released. It ran into the walls of the abandoned hospital, his hands were too shaky for a successful shot. Dokubo’s men had responded, as soon they saw him go for his gun; one of them shot him in the arm.
    ‘Ah!’ He screamed and fell to the ground as pain shot through him.
    ‘Take the criminal away and search the building’ Dokubo instructed the guards.
    ‘Are you okay baby? Did they do anything to hurt you?’ Ife asked.
    ‘No. They almost did but God saved me’ she replied.
    ‘I love you Narissa, I am so happy you are okay’ he hugged her again.
    ‘How did you know I was here?’ She swallowed.
    ‘I received a text from you that we should meet here. Iman thought it suspicious as your boss whom you were to meet was looking for you. So we went to the police’ he explained briefly.
    ‘Oh, thank God’ she sighed.
    She had never dreamt she would have an experience like this. She had heard stories about people getting kidnapped and she never quite understood the trauma they encountered until now.
    ‘Narissa!’ Iman rushed towards them as they neared the van that was parked miles away from the hospital.
    ‘Iman’ she smiled weakly and leaned against Ife’s chest. She had been too weak to walk the distance, so he carried her.
    ‘How are you?’ Iman smiled and caressed her face. She was happy her friend was alright.
    ‘Ife showed up for me’ Narissa smiled and looked into his eyes. She found love buried in there.

    Episode Twenty-Five

    ‘Ife showed up for me’ Narissa smiled and looked into his eyes. She found love buried in there.
    Weeks had passed since her kidnap and she still wasn’t over it. She was traumatized and always had this feeling that somebody was after her. She had also learnt of Lavender’s part in Jason’s death; so many things had happened in her absence.
    Her parents were the most shocked when she told them about the kidnap; they even lost interest in taking in a new driver.
    ‘How do you feel now? Are you sure you shouldn’t see a doctor? You went through a lot’ Iman offered her a glass of wine. She suffered insomnia too.
    ‘I’ll be fine’ Narissa replied curtly.
    The only reason she felt slightly better was Ife; he called every minute to check up on her and visited every day.
    ‘You are thinking about him’ Iman noticed the distant look in her eyes.
    ‘How do you do that?’ Narissa smiled.
    ‘Do what?’ Iman rolled her eyes.
    ‘How do you read my mind?’ She repeated.
    ‘Well, I have been in love before and it is a beautiful thing’ Iman said.
    ‘It sure is. I feel like a part of me that was missing has been returned. I feel this peace, it’s overwhelming and I am happy. Isn’t that wonderful?’ She closed her eyes briefly and then opened them as the doorbell rang.
    ‘That is Ife’ she quickly jumped off the sofa and rushed to the door.
    ‘Good evening Narissa, is Iman in?’ She stood facing Obinna.
    ‘Yes she is, come in’ her heart sank. He missed Ife badly.
    ‘Hello angel’ he opened his arms and Iman rushed right in.
    ‘How are you baby? I missed you so much’ she buried her face in his chest.
    ‘Same here’ he replied.
    Iman filled him in on Narissa’s kidnap and the part Ekene played in it. To her surprise, he wore a neutral expression throughout her narration.
    ‘Aren’t you going to say something?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Yes, you have been so silent’ Narissa added.
    ‘Well, I always warned my brother to thread the right path but he never listened to me, what do you want me to do? Mourn for him? I am happy he is alive, being in prison might change his mentality’ Obinna replied.
    ‘Anyway, that’s not why I came’ he replied then dipped a hand into his pocket.
    He presented the box to Iman, ‘I bought you something, a little gift to appreciate all what you have done for me.’
    ‘You are too generous darling’ she flashed him a smile and opened the box.
    Tears filled her eyes as she stared at the diamond ring. It looked very expensive. Obinna had asked her a question but she couldn’t answer it. she was too overjoyed, too drowned in a sea of teary joy.
    ‘Wow,’ Narissa clapped her hands excitedly.
    ‘Please be my wife’ Obinna fell on his knees while Narissa rushed for her phone so she could capture the beautiful moment.
    ‘I will marry you Obinna, I love you too much to say No’ she laughed out loud and hugged him.
    ‘That is it, people! We should celebrate’ Narissa suggested.
    ‘Sure but where?’ Obinna asked.
    ‘Rosydew’ the girls chorused and laughed.
    Ife had returned from the office; he had not been able to concentrate, his mind was on Narissa. Thoughts of the woman he loved consumed him. the past weeks they had spent together had brought them very close, it had given them a chance to know each other more.
    He loved that she was kind, good-hearted, beautiful, smart, intelligent and sexy. He loved her beautiful eyes; the way her smile lit up his world and the way her long hair settled on her shoulders.
    He wanted more. He wanted to have her for eternity.
    ‘When did you turn philosopher?’ His father’s voice startled him.
    ‘Dad?’ He released a breath and stared at the old man, he was disturbed.
    ‘What’s wrong?’ The man asked.
    ‘Narissa’ he paused.
    ‘I thought you guys were on the same page now, what is wrong?’ He asked.
    ‘I love her, I want her for keeps but I am still scared she would reject me’ he replied.
    ‘Reject you? Don’t be a coward son, go try your luck’ his father advised.
    ‘You think? How do I make it perfect?’ Ife wondered. He wanted that moment to be special for Narissa.
    ‘Do something unique’ his father replied and left him once again to his thoughts.
    ‘Do something unique’ he repeated the words. The corners of his lips twitched in a mischievous smile as an idea came to him.
    Most times it was Iman who helped her dress up for an important occasion but this time, she was the one helping her friend out.
    ‘Red looks good on you’ Narissa praised her. She had parked Iman’s hair into a bun; applied the right makeup for her chocolate skin shade. She was beautiful and flawless. Obinna would be proud to have proposed to her.
    ‘Thanks, dear. Thank you for being here for me Narissa. I appreciate it’ Iman rubbed her hands.
    ‘You are my sister and best friend. Thank you very much’ Narissa hugged her briefly.
    She was happy for her friend yet sad that Ife had neither called nor visited, what was keeping him?
    ‘Your phone is ringing’ Iman called her attention as she had been lost in thought.
    ‘Okay’ she rushed and took the call.
    ‘Darling…’ he drawled.
    ‘Baby, what’s wrong? You don’t sound okay’ she felt the weakness in his voice.
    ‘Yes, I am very ill. Can you please come over to my house, please?’ He begged.
    She stared at her friend for a moment, how would Iman feel if she abandoned her to be with Ife?
    ‘Please. I really need to see you’ he begged.
    ‘Okay, give me ten minutes’ she couldn’t say “no” to his request. She planned to see him then go for the engagement celebration later.
    She ended the call and hurried for her car keys. He sounded like he really needed her and she wanted to be there for him.
    ‘Where are you off to?’ Iman asked.
    ‘Please forgive me, Ife called, he is sick. Once I am done with him, I’ll be there at Rosydew’ he pecked her friend.
    ‘Okay, drive safe’ Iman waved at her. She knew Ife must be in a very bad shape for her friend to leave her at this vital moment.
    Minutes later, Obinna showed up; she loved the way his eyes traveled all over her.
    ‘Wow, I am lucky to have you’ his voice was husky with emotion.
    ‘I love you baby’ she leaned forward and kissed him.
    ‘Narissa will be joining us later’ Iman announced.
    ‘Oh? Why don’t we do something naughty first? We can put her absence to very good use’ he winked and moved closer to her.
    ‘Naughty boy’ she pulled him in and planted a soft kiss on his lips. The result was a sweet inferno that enveloped them both.

    Episode Twenty-Five (Final)

     ‘Naughty boy’ she pulled him in and planted a soft kiss on his lips. The result was a sweet inferno that enveloped them both.
    So many thoughts ran through her mind as she drove into Ife’s compound. She didn’t want to lose him; she even planned to get him to a hospital.
    She rushed out of the car, almost fell but steadied herself as she hurried towards the house. She noticed the house was unusually calm.
     She rang the doorbell twice but there was no answer. She released a deep breath, pushed the door and stepped into the house.
    ‘Ife?’ She saw him by the cellar. Why would he be drinking wine when he was ill?
    ‘Welcome darling’ he smiled and sauntered towards her. His movement seemed purposeful.
    ‘How are you feeling now? Why are you drinking?’ Questions rushed out of her mouth.
    ‘I’ll explain later’ he reached for her hands.
    ‘What is it, something is bothering you, I can tell’ she noticed he was gloomy. Was he going to break her heart the second time?
    ‘I am sorry I ever broke your heart’ he started.
    He was broken and deeply sorry for what he had done to hurt her in the past ‘I am sorry about the recording. I was so stupid’ tears sprang up in his eyes.
    ‘Ife, I have forgiven you, I swear by my late mother’s grave. I love you regardless’ her jaws clenched, he seemed to be hurting.
    ‘After I lost you the first time, I realized how stupid I had been. I had lost a good woman. I did unspeakable things just to gain your attention’ he smiled as he recalled acting up to get her jealous.
    ‘Yes, you tried to get me jealous. I remember your “Fiancee” and your wedding card’ she laughed. Before now, she had felt hurt but she easily laughed about it now.
    ‘Yes, I was desperate for you. You changed me Narissa. I was selfish, irresponsible and arrogant but you changed me. You made me a better person and I love you so much. You are simply amazing. You are the most beautiful, intelligent and sexy woman I have ever met. You have everything all wrapped together…’ he stuttered. He had forgotten the last paragraph of his speech.
    ‘Are you okay?’ She noticed the confusion that crossed his features.
    ‘Just get the long sermon over with and give my daughter the ring’ her father stepped out from behind the cellar.
    ‘Dad?’ Her eyes widened, then Edna followed and finally, Ife’s dad.
    ‘Will you marry me Narissa? Please be my bride, be the mother of my children. Be my queen’ he went on his knees and fetched a gold ring from his pocket.
    ‘Oh my God’ tears glistened in her eyes.
    She had yearned for his love all along. He had hurt her but she still wanted him. Ife was all she needed in a man and she loved him more than anything. In him, she saw her future, past and present. He had shown her great love by coming to save her from Ekene.
    ‘I am sorry…’ she exhaled.
    His heart raced at the mention of the three letter word, was she going to reject him?
    ‘Honey don’t say “no”, you look perfect together. I have already planned a big wedding’ Edna held her breath.
    She scanned her face, her father’s and then Ife’s dad.
    A smile split her beautiful face as she accepted the ring ‘I will marry you Ife Martins.’
    ‘I love you’ he pressed himself into her. Excitement burnt in him as he held her.
    ‘I love you too darling’ she replied.
    He released her and pressed a kiss on her lips; they kissed each other slowly and gently. It was a long and passionate kiss.
    ‘I think you both should save it for your wedding night’ Edna cleared her throat.
    ‘I think she is right’ their fathers chorused.
    The lovers were too engrossed in their kiss to hear them. They sealed their love and happiness with a vow that lay in their kiss.
    His heart had found her. Her heart had found him. They were ingrained together, soul mates and so would they remain till the end of time.
    And so Love conquered revenge and gave birth to new lovebirds.
    The End

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