CLARA ( Episode 10- 20)

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Val’s side of the story continues from the last scene of the previous episode

‘’hey what’s in your head?, what are you thinking?’’ I asked Vivian, holding her back. She shook her head and stared into my eyes as if she just wasn’t sure of herself anymore.

‘’I don’t know val. I don’t think I know you anymore. You could even be behind Clara’s kidnap and I’m here all alone with you’’ she stammered. Her words really shook me. I tried hard to compose myself.

‘’you hurt me with your words Vivian. I thought you understood me. I thought you knew me well?. How can you even think of such a thing?’’ I breathed desperately.

‘’yes I have to think differently because you are an opportunist. You are just the ultimate opportunist. You had feelings for me till Clara showed up. You instantly moved your attention to her and when she finally discovered who you really are, she instantly gets kidnapped. What do you want me to think Val?’’ she muttered quickly while I dropped my eyes. Her words wounded me very much. It was not only painful to be called an opportunist but equally very hurtful to realize that I was now a prime suspect to everyone including Vivian. Yes I very much noticed the way agent mike talked to me earlier in the day and now Vivian was equally spilling out her mind. I couldn’t help but wonder over and over if the whole thing was really staged to implicate me.

‘’very well then, if that’s what you think about me, you can leave’’ I breathed. She hesitantly stood back.

‘’I’m sorry if I sounded very harsh but we could have been happy together. We could have been a wonderful couple but you decided to stitch your luck with Clara and it backfired. Believe me I really want to stay with you right now but I don’t think it’s a good idea anymore. Imagine the kidnappers are contacting you, for what reason?. And if the governor or anyone from the family notice that I’m here with you when the kidnappers called to make demands, they could think the whole thing was planned by us. I have to leave now’’ she breathed solemnly, drew back and left my apartment without another word.

I breathed deeply as I watched her leave. Of course she was very right. The last thing I wanted was bringing her into the mess; moreover the kidnappers already informed me that they were watching and I couldn’t risk putting her in harm’s way as well.

Two hours later @D.S.S state directors’ office

‘’seriously Val, I’m finding it difficult to convince myself that you are not part of this kidnap saga either voluntarily or involuntarily. But I still see no reason why you should be part of it. That means someone is trying very hard to set you up’’ the state director muttered after I told him of the phone call I got from the kidnappers.

‘’for now we will have to wait for them to call again, once the call comes through, I will take over till our field agents coming down from Abuja arrives. The next flight coming in from Abuja should be around 4:30pm and I have already sent some agents to the airport to wait for them. You know none of us is taking a break till this issue is solved’’ he added while I nodded nervously. Seriously I never imagined my life would ever get so complicated. I also couldn’t help but thank God that at least I still had my freedom. I was lucky to still be walking freely.

It was really a long wait as I nervously sat in the director’s office waiting for another phone call from the kidnappers. My prayer was for them to call back as soon as possible. I really was tired. I badly needed a good rest. I badly wanted the whole issue to be resolved. I was ready to do anything to end the terrible nightmare.

At exactly 5:30pm, my ringing phone brought us up on our feet. I stared at the screen and saw that the caller i.d was hidden like the first time the kidnappers called.

‘’I think it’s them sir’’ I muttered.

‘’pick up the call and set it on loudspeaker, then leave the talking to me’’ he ordered me. I nervously did as he requested.

‘’this is the state director of D.S.S’’ the old man introduced himself, leaving a long silence at the other end of the line.

‘’I wish to talk to agent Val. Is the money ready?’’ a voice from the other end finally demanded.

‘’Val is a junior agent, he has no powers to carry on your request. From now you deal with me’’ my director said calmly.

‘’is that how you want it?, fine, I will call your line then but I hope my money is ready? Or by 8pm I will drop of one Clara’s fingers in front of your gate’’ he threatened and hung up. For the first time, I noticed my director appear extremely troubled and colored up.

‘’I have to go see the governor right away’’ he managed to stammer. But before I could say anything an agent walked in with the agents we were expecting from Abuja. They were eleven in number and led by agent Jenifer, a very beautiful lady I used to have a crush on years back at the camp.

‘’hmmm agent Val, good to see you again, I heard you f.ucked up on your first major field assignment’’ she asked with a smile while I eyed her.

Agent Jenifer was a law graduate who joined the service the same year I did but her brilliance and superb abilities in field task made her the best graduating cadet from our set, earning her accelerated promotion to the next rank. She was equally posted to the federal capital city as a field agent.

‘’oh I’m glad you guys are finally here. Your accommodation and office for your equipments has been set up. We have also established contact with the kidnappers. Hopefully this will be resolved as soon as possible’’ my director addressed them with a happy smile on his face. There wasn’t any doubt he was very satisfied to see them.

After briefing Jenifer and her team on how the governor’s daughter was kidnapped and the shootout that followed, she insisted on seeing the last crime scene. (The scene of the last shootout). She believed the kidnappers must have dumped their riffles within the scene before disappearing on their motorbike. According to her, it was impossible to flee the scene with long riffles without being noticed in a crowded city like Owerri.

I had to take her to the scene that evening where we spent almost an hour searching for the riffles which we eventually did find.
‘’phew you see I was right. They wouldn’t have fled the scene on a motorbike carrying such riffles’’ she breathed pleasantly as she picked up the two weapons and faced me. I nodded in admiration; I couldn’t believe the policemen who were left to secure the scene never saw the weapons.

‘’anyway I believe the guns must have been wiped clean of finger prints but then they always fail to wipe the bullets’’ she added as she detached the bullet chamber from the first rifle revealing some live bullets. But then it was one thing to get fingerprints from a crime scene and another thing to match them with a face in a country like Nigeria.

‘’so Val what happened to you. You haven’t called me for the past six months and now you don’t even stare at me like you used to do back then?’’ she suddenly asked, momentarily taking off my attention from the case as my mind went down memory lane. I slowly remembered how I used to crush on her years ago and how badly she treated my feelings.

I slowly remembered how she(jenifer) caught my fancy the first time I met her at the camp. Her beauty really captivated me in such a way that I had the courage to ask her out there and then.
Back then it looked like love at first sight but unfortunately she played with my feelings. She never said yes to me neither did she say no. All she kept saying was that I should give her time to make up her mind. For five months she kept saying the same thing and I needed no one to tell me that she really wasn’t into me. Moreover even when I tried lying to myself that she really needed the time to make up her mind, I kept seeing her hanging out with different guys, something that surely was a big turn off to me no matter how harmless it looked because I was a very jealous and possessive person.

Yes I found it very hard to break out from her charms and when I finally did break out, it took a whole lot of energy to pull off. In fact it was months after I settled down in Owerri that I was able to forget her.

‘’hmmmm I see you are suddenly speechless’’ she breathed, breaking into my mind.

‘’you know with the way you were acting back then, I thought by now that you would have been married. You played with my feelings’’ I muttered while for the first time she looked a bit disoriented. My phone rang that moment, interrupting us. It was agent mike calling.

‘’I guess you are with Jenifer?. The governor wants to see you guys now’’ he informed me and hung up.

‘’the governor wants to see us. Is there anything else we are doing here?’’ I asked her.

‘’no we are done here. I will take the weapons to my team to run prints on. Tomorrow we will be back here to check out the surrounding streets and question the people living around’’ she breathed while I shrugged.

Thirty minutes later we arrived at the governor’s lodge where my director, agent mike and a senior police officer were waiting for us in the sitting room. We barely had settled down when the governor walked in, looking very anxious and weak.

‘’so the idiots are demanding a hundred million naira?. How on earth am I getting such a ridiculous amount today?’’ he breathed angrily. No one said a word.

‘’but sir is there anyone you are suspecting?. Are you owing anyone?. Are you having problems with anyone?’’ Jenifer suddenly asked, getting the governor’s attention for the first time.

‘’young girl a man in my position has a lot of enemies. Yes I’m suspecting everyone including you’’ he fired angrily at her.

‘’you should calm down sir’’ agent mike softly pleaded.
‘’I believe the kidnappers very well know that it won’t be possible getting such an amount of money today. I do feel they are using it as a distraction. I feel there is more to this’’ my director guardedly chipped in.

‘’that’s why you are in service. Do your godamn work. I need my daughter back. But please I want her back in one piece. I’m even ready to pay the ransom to get her back. I can get the money on Monday. Once my daughter is safe you guys can do everything possible to get the people behind this’’ he nervously added while we all shrugged in agreement. Of course the most thing important thing was saving his daughter’s life first before any other thing.

As Jenifer and I headed out of the lodge after the meeting, she softly grabbed my right hand, gaining my attention.

‘’I feel the governor is hiding something and the director is right. There is more to this’’ she muttered.

‘’come on every politician has a dirty secret. Do you think he knows the person behind the kidnap of his daughter and is keeping it away from us?’’ I asked. She looked down.

‘’yes you are right, I don’t think he will keep such information from us’’ she breathed. I said nothing else till we got out of the main building. I stopped and looked into her eyes.

‘’what is in your mind Jenifer?’’ I asked. She scoffed.

‘’I feel like having a private chat with the governor. I believe he could help more by saying everything he knows. Who knows he might even be in contact with the kidnappers without letting anyone know his real plans. I believe we are really missing out something’’ she replied.

‘’listen Jenifer you are here to get back the old man’s daughter and not investigate him. There are many ways we can get to the root of this case. Moreover he has already agreed on paying the ransom and with the money we can track them if every other plan fails’’ I advised. She shrugged and breathed deeply.

‘’very well then if you say so’’ she softly accepted.

‘’I guess I should take you to your hotel now. It’s already late?’’ I asked.

‘’no val, let’s go somewhere to eat and discuss. We have a lot to talk about our past don’t we?’’ she answered playfully making me smile. Unfortunately we were interrupted that moment by Charles who showed up from nowhere and pounced on me like a hungry lion, gaining everyone’s attention as he cursed and choked me, embarrassing me tremendously.

‘’you b—–d where is my woman. What did you do to Clara?. I tried warning her but she never cared to listen. After banging the poor girl you got her kidnapped huh?. You lowlife what did you do to her?’’ he barked as Jenifer tried desperately to push him off me. Other agents and policemen soon rushed down to the scene.

There wasn’t any doubt Charles was out to humiliate me and he was really doing a good job of it. Of course I was expecting his confrontation but I never prepared to face him in such a place in the presence of other agents and security personnel. The last thing I wanted was anyone else knowing about my affair with Clara and the only option for me that moment was to deny his accusation in a very convincing manner as everyone waited for what I had to say about his accusation.
Charles Just wasn’t anyone to the governor. He was a trusted family friend and I needed no telling that the show he put up was really convincing enough to make even Jenifer doubt me.

Perhaps it was his own way of getting back at me or was he truly concerned about Clara’s safety?.

‘’Mr. Charles you have been getting my relationship with Clara wrong all these while. I have no explanation to give to you right now. If you are having doubts, go and talk to the governor but for your information, I never slept with Clara and if you have prove that I staged her kidnap, better bring it forward, moreover how did you even get to know that she was kidnapped in the first lace?’’ I muttered calmly, surprising everyone with my calm response. Perhaps they all were expecting me to react more seriously to his accusation but I never did.

‘’Vivian told me about the kidnap. I guess the best thing is talk to the governor’’ he barked fiercely and headed into the house while agent Jenifer stared at me curiously.

‘’did you actually sleep with the girl?’’ she asked.

‘’of course not, yes we were close but I never went that far with her. The dude never knew I was only a bodyguard to Clara. He saw us together and formed a silly conclusion in his head that I was having an affair with his woman. I couldn’t tell him the truth because I was ordered not to let anyone including Clara to know who I really was’’ I answered convincingly while she shrugged.

‘’let’s go eat then’’ she added breathlessly, holding me tightly.

Jenifer and I spent almost all night talking and recounting old memories. She really was fun to be with and I enjoyed every moment. By 1pm, I returned to my apartment to sleep and pray for Clara.


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Val’s side of the story continues
Jenifer and I spent almost all night talking and recounting old memories. She really was fun to be with and I enjoyed every moment. By 1pm, I returned to my apartment to sleep and pray for Clara.

Early the next day which was Sunday, I got a call to report at the office immediately. I rushed my breakfast and headed over to the department to meet my director, agent mike, Jenifer and her team converged at the forensics unit.
It was just as if I kept everyone waiting.

‘’we just ran a check through miss Clara’s phone and according to the call records only three numbers called her line the morning she was kidnapped. Your call came in first but she never picked it. Mr. Charles number was the second to call her and she never picked it. The third number wasn’t saved on her phone and the caller called twice and spoke with her for five minutes on each call. Four minutes after speaking with the caller, she left the house and got kidnapped. We ran a check on the phone number and discovered it’s owned by Mr. Joe Kelvin, the governor’s special assistant on youth matters. Is there anything you know about him?. Is he Clara’s friend?’’ my director summarized and asked while everyone listened patiently.

‘’I can’t say he’s Clara’s friend because I have never seen them together, moreover a day after Clara got back to the country he tried bribing me to help him get close to her. I declined his request and never heard from him afterwards. I also never saw him approach her for once’’ I answered truthfully.

‘’let’s go get him. He could be our man’’ the director ordered. I nodded in agreement as we all quickly filed out.

Ten minutes later Jenifer and I plus ten other agents arrived at Mr. Joe’s house in four hilux trucks. We barely had gotten to the gate, when we noticed the young man driving out with an elderly passenger in his car. Two agents blocked him while a third agent pulled out the frightened guy from the car. One look at him, I felt we had the wrong guy. The surprise and fear on his face was very convincing but he relaxed a bit on sighting me.

‘’agent Val what’s wrong?. Please don’t manhandle my mother’’ he begged as he was dragged to one of the trucks while his old mother watched on in disbelief, so shocked to even mutter a word.

An hour later @D.S.S Interrogation room,
(In this scene, a frightened Kelvin is seen seated and facing the state director of DSS who of course wasn’t happy to be working by that hour of the day instead of being at home with his family. Agent Val, Jenifer and two other junior agents are seen behind him, observing keenly)

‘’how did you get Miss Clara’s phone number and what were you telling her when you called yesterday morning?’’ the old man asked seriously, watching the young man’s reaction.

‘’come on you guys prevented me from going to church because I called the governor’s daughter on phone yesterday?. I can’t believe this. I work for the governor for Christ sake. What the hell did the girl report to you?. I only wanted to be friends with her but she was very rude to me. I couldn’t say much to her. I got her number from one of the staff working in the house’’ he replied quickly while the director drew back on his chair probably unconvinced with his statement but Just that moment, his phone rang, he picked up the call and gave us a signal that it was the kidnappers calling once again.

‘’hello you are speaking with the state director of DSS’’ he breathed as the person on the other end of the line said something that kept him calm for a bit before his color suddenly changed.

‘’what two hundred million naira!’’ we all heard him scream as he got up from his chair and headed out of the room. The other agents and I all dutifully followed him to his office where he briefed us on the latest development.
‘’they are now demanding two hundred million naira since we failed to get the money yesterday. The caller said it was a price to pay for Miss Clara not losing a finger yesterday as threatened. Something is not adding up here. I have a feeling these guys are not after money. I believe the girl was kidnapped to send a message across or something else. But money no. it doesn’t look as if they are serious about the money. Check the pattern of their calls for instance’’ the director breathed with a worried look.

‘’after checking the crime scene again today, I need permission to question the governor. Maybe he knows something he isn’t telling us’’ Jenifer softly chipped in while I gave her an askance look. The director kept quiet for a while before nodding.

‘’definitely the guy we have with us isn’t our man. You have my permission to question the governor but I will go with you’’ he accepted, leaving a smile on Jenifer’s face.

‘’and you Val, this is your mess. What do you have to say?’’ he asked me.

‘’I need permission to go after Charles sir, you saw what happened yesterday at the governor’s residence?, Since we are looking into the theory that Clara may not have been kidnapped for money. Perhaps we are looking at a crime of passion here. A guy like Charles can easily have the girl killed instead of allowing her slip from his hands. He has the resources and means to pull this off. Just give me forty eight hours to focus on him please’’ I begged.

‘’we don’t have time on our hands. You have twenty hours to check the guy out. By Monday evening, you should be here for debriefing’’ he accepted while I heaved a sigh of relief.

Now Charles was mine to tackle and my prayers were for me to be right. I desperately wanted to prove to the department that I was a good agent. I equally needed to save my Clara, my life, job, everything was on the line.

Meanwhile at the other end of the state, Clara is seen lying drugged in a well furnished room which very much looked like a hotel room instead of a kidnappers den. The room looked very peaceful as if the only occupant in it (Clara) was just sleeping in comfort.

Clara’s side of the story continues

I slowly opened my eyes to find myself in a very strange room. For some seconds I couldn’t remember what happened to me or why I was in a strange place. But slowly it all started coming back in my head. I remembered how I got kidnapped and how a wet handkerchief was placed over my nose when my cries and protest became too much in the car. I remembered nothing afterwards. It kind of looked like a dream. It kind of looked as If I woke up in after life. I really found it hard to believe that I was actually kept in such cozy room by the kidnappers. I also wasn’t tied up, a discovery that fired up my spirit and made me thinking about escape.

I quickly jumped out of the bed and rushed to the door. I tried opening it but unfortunately the door was locked. I tried the two windows at the corner but they were equally well locked. It was just as if the windows in the room were built to keep one hostage.
I weakly sat on the floor and sobbed. I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself or what next to do. I equally was very hungry but food was the last thing on my mind. I desperately wanted to go home.

About ten minutes later, the door softly opened, gaining my attention. I quickly sprang up on my feet, expecting to see a heavily built man but was surprised to see a young lady of about my age walk in with a calm nervous smile. She was carrying a food tray with her.

‘’good morning dear’’ she greeted politely, leaving me speechless for a while.

‘’thank God you are finally awake. I brought you breakfast. Fried egg, hot coffee and bread’’ she added as she set the large tray on a small table beside my bed.

‘’where am I, what time of the day is it, how did I get here?’’ I asked breathlessly. The young lady smiled reassuringly once again.

‘’calm down. I’m here to take care of you. You have been sleeping since yesterday afternoon you were brought over. I was scared because you were heavily drugged. The time is 9:35am. Just relax and have your breakfast. It will do you no good to reject this food and starve yourself. You need all the strength. You can also use the bathroom over there to freshen up. Everything you need is in there’’ she advised softly, pointing to the bathroom while I stared at her suspiciously. Of course I felt like strangling her there and then and break for my freedom but something about he’d really held me back. She was so nice and charming, something that relatively calmed down the tension in me.

‘’I need to go home. I don’t know how you are involved in this but please I beg of you, help me get out of here and you will never regret helping me. Please’’ I begged desperately while she smiled.

‘’you have nothing to fear here. Just eat your food. I promise today will be full of surprises for you’’ she muttered softly, took a deep breath and left the room, leaving me all alone.

I sat on the floor and thought of what she said and what exactly she meant by today being full of surprises for me. I knew escaping from such a place was certainly impossible without help and I had no choice than to eat the breakfast to gather a little strength.

Later in the evening I was about dozing off out of boredom when someone walked into the room again. I felt it was the girl who had been serving me all day who came in to pick up the plates she used to deliver my lunch and so paid no attention; instead I buried my face in the pillow and closed my eyes.

After few seconds I felt a familiar touch on my shoulder and a kiss at the back of my neck which sent cold shivers down my spine. I instantly turned to see Charles smiling at me. I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe myself. Deep down all the fears in me instantly vanished and was replaced by anger.

‘’what the hell Charles. What do you think you are doing?’’ I breathed with a very shaky voice as I drew away from him. He smiled faintly and tried to touch me again. I slapped away his hand.

‘’I never wanted things to go this way but you forced me into this desperation. I had to man up to set things right. We have to make up. You are my wife and nothing is going to stop us. We are going to be here all alone together until we settle things between us’’ he breathed hoarsely. I couldn’t believe my ears.

‘’you are sick. You are so despicable. You turned a whole city into a hot zone just to kidnap me. You are sick’’ I fired angrily as he drew forward and kissed me. It was the most terrible kiss I ever had.

I couldn’t believe desperation could lead him into taking such a dangerous step. There wasn’t any doubt he had the whole thing well planned out and I knew the only way to get out alive was by succumbing to his games unless of course a divine intervention comes along.

(Meanwhile outside the plush mansion, agent Val is seen inside his car parked a distance away under a mango tree taking pictures. Unknown to Charles he was followed right from the city center to the northern part of the state where he was keeping Clara. However Val was only following his instincts. He had no evidence to prove that Clara was in the building and so the only option for him was to covertly go inside the house to check out things for himself.
He could get lucky. He could get caught.



You are loved beyond words.

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Clara’s side of the story continues

‘’you should learn to start acting like my wife dear. My love for you is greater than anything on earth’’ Charles breathed as he kissed my cheek, his hands slowly going for my br.east. I quickly changed position, blocking his efforts.

‘’how do you plan to get away with this? How do you explain to my family assuming I succumb to your demand?’’ I softly asked curiously while he drew back and smiled.

‘’leave that for me, in due time things will unfold the way you never imagined my dear. All I need now is your love, presence and attention’’ he breathed softly.

I stared at him in great disbelief. I never imagined he would go that far just to have me. Of course his actions were extremely disgusting and I couldn’t help but regret having a silly idea of making up with him the night I fought with val. Yes I had regretted treating Charles badly but I never knew he was this desperate and dangerous.

‘’God help me’’ I prayed and closed my eyes as he drew closer to me very eager to continue with his love play. I needed no telling that he was ready to have me there and then. He was ready to rap.e me. He was ready to forcefully take what he had always claimed to be his. He was very eager to take what had been denied him all along. I knew fighting or resisting was going to be pointless but I was very ready not to give in easily. I was ready to fight to the last.

‘’please I beg of you don’t do this to me. Don’t use force on me. Don’t hurt me. Let me go’’ I begged desperately. He stopped for some seconds and stared at me.

‘’come on, I’m not going to hurt you. All I want is to make you love me. I want you to be the mother of my kids. I want us to have a great family. Our kids will never lack anything. Who knows in the next twenty years I could be the state governor. We have a lot to gain together my love’’ he proposed while I dropped my eyes in desperation. It was pointless begging him. His mind was already made up and there was nothing I could do but to take everything painfully.

‘’I really don’t know why you chose that lowlife over me. The idiot has no money, no name, nothing. Till now I still can’t believe you ruined my birthday celebration because of him’’ he muttered and unbuckled his belt. I closed my eyes with great pain. I was about being r.aped, there wasn’t any doubt about it. I could only fight to delay him for few minutes. My fate was inevitable.

But then out of nowhere came a loud thud that sounded right outside the room door as if someone fell on the door or was watching us. Charles quickly sprang up from the bed and headed to the door while I followed him with my eyes. As soon as he opened the door I instantly caught a glimpse of a man lying face first on the floor. I couldn’t take a proper look at him because Charles’s big body was blocking my view but deep down I felt the man lying right there was no other person than Val , a discovery that left me totally alarmed as I screamed.

Val’s side of the story continues from the last scene of the previous episode

After building up my morale, I left one of my phones in the car, put the second one in my pocket, checked my service pistol, alighted from the car, crossed over to the other side of the road and headed to the bush surrounding the back of the building. I was very desperate. I equally was very scared. Of course I was going into an unknown territory without backup or authorization. I was simply on my own and anything could happen in there. However the thought of saving Clara was very stronger than my fears.
I easily scaled the wall, hid at the back of a small building at the backyard and scanned the compound. The compound was a very large one and I spotted about six men watching over the property. They weren’t armed and everything about the house looked normal like most houses owned by rich men. I softly waited for an opportunity to make my next move, which was picking the best place to search for Clara. I was a trained operative and yes i had a good training on covert operation even though I was yet to practice it in real life till that very moment. I was trained to pick out hostiles in the midst of a friendly crowd. I knew how to pick out odd things in every given environment. But then everything about this house I was watching looked perfectly okay and if not that I followed Charles to the place I would have given up.

Suddenly I spotted Charles at the doorway linking the main house from the back yard. I nervously watched him give instructions to one of the guys watching the house before going back inside. I instantly made my move and made it into the main building without being seen. You can’t imagine how loud my heart was pounding this moment. I had to be extremely careful.

I was able to walk through the empty hallway towards the bedrooms without being seen. Slowly I listened for sounds as I passed through each room. I heard nothing till I got to the last room where I heard Charles’s voice as he talked to a lady whose voice was softer as she appeared to be begging. The voice was of course Clara’s, a discovery that left me extremely relieved. I couldn’t believe everything went very easily for me.
I heaved a sigh of relief and grabbed my phone to send a quick emergency message for backup but unfortunately I felt a loud thud on the back of my head which instantly immobilized me as I lost consciousness. I never saw the blow coming. I never knew who hit me.

Clara’s side of the story continues

Charles shut the door the instant he heard my scream, leaving me all alone to imagine things for myself. I couldn’t really believe the man I saw lying face first on the floor was Val. It kind of appeared like a figment of my imagination. I couldn’t understand how he was able to locate the house in the first place. I was so scared of what Charles would do to him. It was definitely an opportunity he was craving for.
Yes for him to go extreme just to have me, I believed he was ready to do unimaginable things to Val to get even.
I knelt down and prayed. I prayed to dear Lord, begging him to touch Charles’s heart, not for my freedom but for Val’s sake.

After about an hour or so later, Charles’s walked into the room, sweating heavily. I stared at him suspiciously, wondering why he was sweating heavily.

‘’what have you done?’’ I asked breathlessly. He laughed.

‘’your boyfriend is so stupid. Imagine he walked right into my house without invitation. That guy is really sick in the head’’ he mused as he sat beside me on the bed. I felt like hitting him but restrained myself.

‘’what do you plan doing with him?’’ I asked fearfully.

‘’hmmmm I don’t know yet. It all depends on you. If you treat me fine, I will spare his life’’ he muttered and licked his lips.

‘’how do you plan getting away with all these?. The police are already on you’re’’ I stammered, trying to frighten him. He laughed.

‘’that’s where you are mistaken my dear. Do you really think I got you here without the help of the police?. My dear I have everything all figured out and your Val is surely going to pay for turning me into a monster unless you make me change my mind’’ he added seriously while I held my breath. It really was obvious he had some bad police officers as friends but unknown to him I was relieved that he was yet to know that Val was a secret agent. The discovery was a big relief to me and I very much knew that for Val to make it to the house so easily that his colleagues won’t be far behind. The only thing I needed to do was to stall him as much as possible for the other agents to come to my rescue.

‘’fine I will do whatever you wish me to do. Just don’t hurt him. I don’t want you to keep hurting people. I don’t want you to be a monster. I will be with you if that will stop you from being a monster’’ I softly appealed to him, reaching for his hand as well. He drew back with surprise, like someone not too sure of himself. I kind of felt I made him suspicious with my composure.

‘’are you really doing this out of the love you have for him?’’ he asked to my surprise.

‘’no I’m not doing it for him. I’m doing it for you, for your family. You are following a dangerous path that will harm you in the end. I will do anything to prevent that from happening, including being with you’’ I breathed, shaking him with my words. He quickly snatched his hand from my grasp and left the room without another word. There was no doubt I got him shaken up with my words. Of course I never meant any of them; all I was doing was to stall him from doing anything silly.

Val’s side of the story continues

I woke up with a jolt as I felt the effects of cold water all over me. I noticed a huge guy grinning at me as he dropped an empty bucket on the wet floor. I was tied like a war prisoner who was about to be tortured. My two hands and legs were stretched out and tied firmly to iron poles. I couldn’t imagine how long I was out. Taking a quick look around me, I noticed that I was held in a basement perhaps an underground basement.
A quick blow on my face soon brought back my attention to the huge guy. There wasn’t any doubt he was enjoying every bit of my pains.

‘’I guess he’s now ready to talk’’ I heard Charles’s voice say from behind as he slowly walked towards me with a deep smile of satisfaction.
‘’you know I was having a difficult time with Clara until you stupidly showed up. Now she has accepted to be mine on the condition I let you go. But you and I know that’s not going to happen. You are not getting out of here alive unless you tell me how you got here in the first place and who else knows that you are here’’ he asked softly.

‘’I simply followed you from the city. I knew all along that you got Clara kidnapped. It was very easy to figure out and it equally was extremely easy to tail you’’ I answered with a short smile which left him frowning. A quick blow on my face soon showed me how pissed off he was.

‘’god knows I will torture you till you pass out over and over. I will sure make you regret ever coming between Clara and I’’ he threatened.

‘’how do you plan getting away with all these?. I guess you haven’t thought about that?, or are you going to keep Clara here forever?’’ I asked as I spat out blood from my mouth, spitting on him.

‘’maybe you are the scapegoat I need to get away with this’’ he replied with a smile as he landed three heavy blows on my nose. I passed out again.

Meanwhile at the office of the state director DSS; agent Jenifer is seen trying Val’s number for the tenth time with no success. The state director and agent mike are also seen frowning. The atmosphere in the room looked tense and it’s very difficult to figure out what’s going through their minds .



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Val’s side of the story continues

I woke up once again to find myself lying on the floor. This time around my hands weren’t tied. Only my legs were tied together with a strong rope. I managed to sit up, resting my back on the wall as I thought of my next move and how to survive. Of course I was very lucky to still be alive. I felt it was just a matter of time before Charles’s decides to finish me up for good.
I only had a faint hope that my colleagues would soon start looking for me and with the help of the cell phone I left in my car, be able to trace my location. Yes it really wasn’t the best shot for my freedom and I knew I had to think out of the box to find a way to secure my freedom. I also couldn’t help but wonder what Charles and his gang did to the other phone I came into the house with.

I was still busy with my thoughts when another young man walked in with a plate of food. As he dropped the plate on the floor beside me, I drew back and stared at him suspiciously. Three tiny pieces of yam with red oil was the meal he brought for me in a plastic plate. I shook my head with disgust and looked the other way.

‘’I advice you eat this food because I don’t know the next time you will be served again’’ he said rudely.

‘’please what’s the time?’’ I asked. He scoffed.

‘’9:30am, Monday morning’’ he replied.

‘’are you really sure?’’ I asked. He sighed and left the room without another word while I shook my head and thought of how to escape.

It really wasn’t long before an idea came into my head. I smiled to myself and prepared my mind for it.

Hours later, the guy who earlier brought food for me came in to take the plate. His eyes instantly boiled with rage as soon as he noticed that I didn’t touch the food. But he said nothing, instead came forward and took the plate.

‘’I want urinate. I have been holding it all day’’ I said to him calmly.

‘’you can piss on yourself’’ he replied rudely.

‘’I also want to shi.t. You know I can’t shi.t on myself because you guys won’t be able to touch me afterwards and I know the stench will chase you all out of the building. So kindly take me to the toilet’’ I said with a cunning smile. He hesitated for a moment before walking away. Few minutes later, the huge guy that hit me the previous day showed up with a dirty smile on his smile.

‘’it’s only 4:30pm and you already want to shi.t tough guy’’ he breathed with a short laugh.
‘’I will take you to the toilet but don’t try anything funny because I won’t hesitate to shoot you and I don’t miss’’ he threatened, tucked the small pistol he was holding in his trouser, bent over me and untied the rope used to bind my legs while I heaved a sigh of relief.

Roughly he jerked me up and dragged me towards the toilet. He definitely was a strong guy and I knew I needed extra strength plus my training to beat him in a fight.

On getting to the toilet, he threw me inside and shut the door, whistling a song as he waited for me outside the toilet.
I soon settled in the toilet where I took time to rest and perfect my plans. After relieving myself, I flushed the toilet, made the sign of the cross and breathed deeply before knocking on the door to get the big guy’s attention.

Just like I expected, he opened the door to drag me out but unknown to him I was very much ready. Before he threw open the toilet door, I scooped enough toilet water from the toilet pit and splashed the water on his face as soon as he opened the door, putting him in great discomfort and disarray as he spit, cursed and wiped his face with great energy, putting down his guard. It was the opportunity I needed to put him down. One kick to the stomach plus a choke hold were enough to knock him out. I quickly grabbed his gun and headed to the room I heard Clara’s voice the last time.

Breaking into the room wasn’t easy and the noise it generated as I kicked on the door alerted the other guys’ guarding the house. But I still had time to break in and grab Clara before they could get to the room.

Unfortunately the difficult part was escaping with Clara. The girl was very weak and scared. She couldn’t run very fast and before we could get to the back of the building the other guys weren’t far behind. The only escape route was scaling the same fence I used in gaining access to the house but unfortunately Clara couldn’t do that without help.
Yes we luckily made it to the fence but in the process of lifting up Clara for her to grab the edge and scale over, the other guys closed in on us. One of them fired a round which whistled over my head, making me lose my grip on Clara, she instantly fell on the floor while I nervously pulled out the gun I had with me and got ready for a show off as they surrounded us and waited for my next move. I really was lucky the guys never kept firing at us.

I desperately counted them. They were seven guys in all. Four of them pointed their guns at me while the rest simply stood and waited for the next move from me. I was lucky they didn’t attempt shooting again. Perhaps they wanted me alive or perhaps they were scared that a shootout between us could lead to Clara getting shot.
I was totally surrounded and I knew there was no getting out.

‘’let the girl go and we will let you go. You know you stand no chance. you can’t shoot all of us without getting shot’’ one of the guys demanded quickly as my eyes went back and forth like a cornered rat.

‘’let the girl go mister. Just take this rare chance we are giving you. You are totally outgunned and outnumbered’’ the young man demanded again while my heart furiously pounded as I wondered what next to do. Of course I knew I was in a tight fix. I equally knew they weren’t going to let me get away once I let them have Clara. Letting go of Clara or my weapon was never an option for me.

‘’you have just two seconds left to make up your mind’’ he demanded as he took a step towards me. I breathed deeply and aimed at him, I wasn’t going to let them take Clara again without a fight. I knew once I take the shot that the rest of the gang was going to fire at me but then I really saw no other option left than to die fighting. I saw death staring and beckoning at me once again. I never knew I was going to die so young. Sweat appeared all over me as I got ready to fire my last shot.

But fortunately for me before I could press the trigger I spotted agent Jenifer and three other agents closing on them from behind. The bad guys all stood facing me without watching their back, an opportunity Jenifer and the other agents used in getting close within range. I heaved a sigh of relief. Yes it was a perfect timing. They came at the right time to save my sorry

‘’drop your weapons right now. You are totally surrounded’’ Jenifer instantly barked, shocking the hoodlums who all turned to see that they were all sitting ducks. They instantly dropped their guns without hesitation while four other agents jumped into the compound from the back fence I earlier tried using to escape with Clara. I was very much surprised and relieved at the same time. I never knew the house was already surrounded by my colleagues during the show off. Clara instantly got on her feet and hugged me tightly while agent Jenifer drew close and smiled at me.

‘’thanks for saving my as.s’’ I breathed gratefully.

‘’we heard the gunshot and that helped lead us to this corner’’ she replied with a smile.

‘’yes I was shot at when trying to escape with Clara, luckily the bullet missed its target. How did you find the location?’’ I asked curiously.

‘’the prints found on the bullets we got from the first crime scene came out yesterday. We ran it through the police database with us and discovered that it matched two officers working with the state police headquarters. We tried reaching you but couldn’t. After picking up the officers, they confessed that they gave out weapons to Mr. Charles but never participated in the kidnap. They gave us more than enough details to help. But when we still failed to reach you today, we had to track your phone signal which eventually gave the same location the police officers gave us during questioning. We had to get as many teams as we can to come over here because we didn’t know what to expect’’ she explained quickly while I breathed deeply.
Another agent soon showed up with a frown.

‘’we only saw one huge guy inside the house. Mr. Charles isn’t in the house’’ he informed us.

Clara returned to her relieved parents that same evening while I was asked to go home. According to my director, I still have to face disciplinary action, something I really wasn’t comfortable with. I felt after all the risks I took that everything was going to be fine.

‘’we still have some decisions to make concerning your conduct. So go home and wait for our call’’ was all I was told. Of course I felt bad. It really was painful to know that my efforts weren’t really appreciated. I almost lost my life for the job but no one took notice of it.

I returned to my apartment later that evening, so tired and hungry. I had a long shower before dozing off in my sitting room. I barely had slept for few minutes when a soft knock on my door brought me to my feet. I opened the door to see Vivian smiling at me. She looked so sexy in a cleavage revealing green gown which showed off all her curves. I swallowed hard as I stared at her.

‘’I came to thank you and equally apologize over all I said to you the last time. I made you a great meal. I know you will be very tired and hungry. I also heard rumors that you might be suspended from your job over all that happened. I’m here to keep your company. I’m here to be with you through the night. That’s my small way of appreciating you’’ she breathed softly, taking a step towards me and planting a kiss on my cheek that sent sweet sensations down my spine.

(Unknown to anyone, Mr. Charles was quietly seated in his car which was parked right in front of Val’s compound as he waited for nightfall. You can’t imagine the surprise on his face as he saw Vivian walk into the compound. Nevertheless nothing was going to stop him from finishing what he started).



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Val’s side of the story continues

After enjoying the delicious meal Vivian brought me, I regained enough strength to joke and play with her. But as soon as the clock stuck 8:15pm, I knew it was time to ask her to leave. Of course I was still reasoning with my head instead of my d—k and no matter how tempting her offer of spending the night at my apartment looked. I knew it was something I would end up regretting the next day.

‘’Thanks so much for the meal, you are really a life saver but please don’t bother spending the night here with me. I’m very fine on my own moreover I need to be alone to think over my life and the way forward’’ I finally managed to say to her with a smile. She slowly frowned and tried to insist.

‘’I offered to stay here with you from my heart. You don’t have to ask me to leave. I’m a big girl. You have nothing to worry about’’ she pushed on, trying to sound innocent and cool but I knew deep down things really weren’t as she said. And seriously I wanted to be alone to think over my life just like I earlier told her.

I stood up, drew close to her and rested my hands on her shoulders, caressing them softly.

‘’my dear I really wish to be alone tonight. I have some things to figure out and you being here won’t give me the space I need. I appreciate everything you did today but please I want to be alone’’ I begged. She reluctantly shrugged and stood up.

‘’very well then, let me pack up my things’’ she finally accepted with a smile while I heaved a sigh of relief.

At exactly 8:45pm, I led her to the door but on opening it we both saw Charles smiling devilishly. It was just as if he had been standing there for long. You can’t imagine the shock I felt. It was just as if I was facing a ghost. It looked so unbelievable and unreal. It was as if my eyes were playing games with me. I couldn’t believe a guy every security agent was looking for was standing right in front of my apartment as if everything was fine with him.
Before I could react, Vivian fell back on me, holding her stomach and gasping while Charles grinned as he stepped closer. I never realized he was holding a knife. I never saw it coming. I didn’t realize on time that Vivian fell back on me because she was stabbed. It really happened so fast moreover the doorway was a bit dark for one to notice much and before I could process everything, toss Vivian to a corner and defend myself, I felt a sharp pain on my stomach.

Charles wasted no time in stabbing me. He grabbed the opportunity without the slightest hesitation. He was just a man on mission.
I tried to hold myself and fight back but he was very much ready. He stabbed me over and over in the abdomen, forcing me down on my knees as I slowly hit the floor.

I gasped for breathe as I tried to sit up while he focused his attention on Vivian who was struggling to get on her feet. He reached for her, stabbing her multiple times on the back before throwing her body on me.

‘’you shouldn’t have come between Clara and i. you tried to destroy my hopes, my investment, my life. You turned me into this. I’m not proud of this dirty game but I have to do this to save my own And to you Vivian, you shouldn’t have been here tonight. I never knew the b—–d was f– you and your cousin at the same time’’ he breathed as I fought with great energy to keep my eyes from shutting down.

‘’now please hold this knife for me’’ he added with an evil smile as he forced the weapon to my right hand. I was too weak to do anything.

‘’when the police eventually find your bodies tomorrow, They will quickly come to the conclusion that you Val came home very depressed and took it out on your girl who came to be with you. After stabbing her, you realized what you did and stabbed yourself. With the news Clara will confirm that you were never what she thought you were and it will give me the opportunity to reclaim my love. She will realize that I kidnapped her just to save her from you and not to harm her. good night Mr. Val’’ he added with an evil grin, pulled off the hand gloves he was wearing, tossed them into his jacket and left the room without another word.

I saw death before me once again. It was as if I was destined to die young. However the mistake Charles made was not making sure I was dead before leaving the house. Perhaps he wanted me to slowly bleed to death. The other thing I was equally yet to figure out was if he now knew that I was a federal agent.

Anyway I managed to crawl to the table where I left my phone and quickly dialed Jenifer’s number with my last strength.
‘’help’’ I breathed and collapsed.

Clara’s side of the story continues

I was so happy to be free, so happy to breathe in fresh air again. I couldn’t believe the events of the past few days were actually real. It was just like an action movie or should I say an action dream. I couldn’t believe Charles actually kidnapped me just to force me into loving him. Yes talking about Charles, the desperation I saw in his eyes and the way he forcefully wanted my love looked more of an ambition and not real love. I knew our families had a lot to gain from our union but I felt he and his family had a whole lot more to gain from it. It was all about power, wealth and politics. Yes he even hinted on it when he was ranting like a mad man.

But then it equally was so sad and disappointing to know that my father drew back his interest and anger when he learned that it was Charles who kidnapped me. He instantly stopped talking tough and only assured me that he was going to talk to Charles’s father. He never said anything about throwing the boy in jail or taking a more decisive action. It was just as if dad was more interested in saving his political career than caring for my feelings. Nevertheless I slept peacefully, so happy to be home and so happy that Val and I were now in the same page. It was so wonderful seeing him break into the room to free me and it equally was so amazing running with him as we fled the scene.

Even though we failed to make it out of the house without outside help all that mattered to me was how he stood by my side against all odds. He put his life on the line for me. He was just the man. I dreamt about it over and over with a smile on my face.

I woke up the next day, yearning to see my val. We never really had the opportunity to talk much the previous day because I was instantly whisked away and brought home while he headed to his workplace to sort things out with his colleagues. I nervously dialed his number but he failed to answer. I tried his line two more times before a lady answered his call.

‘’hello I’m agent Jenifer. You are Clara the governor’s daughter right?’’ she introduced herself and asked while a thousand and one thoughts instantly filled my head.

‘’yes I’m, how about Val?’’ I asked.

‘’I’m sorry he won’t be able to talk to you at the moment. I’m coming over to the mansion to talk to you. Just wait for me’’ she replied and hung up, leaving me a bit worried.

Precisely an hour later, agent Jenifer walked into my room with a smile.
‘’how was your night?’’ she asked.

‘’I’m fine but I guess Charles hasn’t been arrested yet?’’ I asked. She breathed deeply and nodded.

‘’yes he hasn’t been arrested yet but I’m also sorry to tell you that your dad wants us to drop the case. I don’t know the reason for his decision and I don’t just know what to say about it’’ she informed me while I dropped my eyes. Of course the news never came as a surprise to me.

‘’anyway you have nothing to worry about. A female police officer plus a team of armed policemen will be assigned to guard you every minute of the day. So don’t be scared’’ she added with a smile.

‘’I’m not scared of Charles but how about Val?’’ I asked breathlessly. She kept quiet for few seconds.

‘’Val won’t be working here anymore’’ she muttered.

‘’but why?, I want him. He’s a good agent. I need no one else but him’’ I protested.

‘’how close are you with him?’’ she suddenly asked.

‘’we are very close. So close for him to risk his life for me’’ I fired quickly.

‘’there is nothing spectacular in what he did my dear. Every other agent would have done the same for you. By the way how close is he with your cousin miss Vivian?’’ she asked. I stared at her suspiciously.

I couldn’t help but wonder where the question was heading to.

‘’they are friends. She actually met him before me. She equally was the person that revealed to me that Val wasn’t an agent when she discovered something about us’’ I breathed, stopping the instant I noticed that I said much more than I was asked.

‘’what did she discover?’’ she asked curiously.

‘’it’s something private. Why should I tell you?’’ I answered weakly.

‘’because it could help in an ongoing investigation’’ she answered while I stared at her in disbelief.
‘’you see your cousin Vivian was found badly stabbed in Val’s apartment yesterday evening. Val was equally found stabbed. There wasn’t any sign of break in or forced entry in the apartment and we are about coming to the conclusion that perhaps Vivian went over to his house to spend the night or something similar and they ended up fighting and stabbing each other. It’s just a mere speculation for now though ‘’ she softly informed me as I gasped for breath. Many thoughts flowed into my head.

Of course the previous day, I barely had returned home when Vivian who was supposed to keep me company came in to tell me that she was going to a friend’s birthday party. I never bothered to ask her much because I was dead tired.
But with Jenifer’s revelation, It all started flowing back to my head. No wonder Vivian bluntly told me everything about Val that led us into quarreling. She never revealed Val’s identity to save me; rather she did it for us to break up. She did it for herself. She was trying to save her relationship with him.
I instantly felt used.

‘’oh my god’’ I breathed with great pain.

‘’so what exactly did she discover that made her reveal Val’s true identity to you?’’ Jenifer softly demanded, breaking into my thoughts.

‘’she told me everything about Val after I told her we were having an affair’’ I confessed with tears which filled my eyes. Jenifer drew back and shrugged.

‘’with the look of things its obvious agent Val was having an affair with both of you. I’m afraid to say that he is in a very big trouble right now, that is if he makes it out alive because his wounds are very deep and serious’’ she added with a frown while I took my pillow and covered my face with shame as I wept bitterly.
I regretted ever coming back to Nigeria.



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Clara’s side of the story continues from the last scene of the previous episode

Agent Jenifer soon left me all alone to myself. I spent all day crying and thinking over my life. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t do anything. I felt bad and betrayed. I really didn’t know whether to pray for my cousin and Val to survive or to wish them death.

Around 3:30pm, Charles surprisingly sneaked into my room with flowers. I stared at him with disbelief, wondering how he was able to make it to my room. For some seconds I was at lost on how to react because he was the last person I expected to see. He calmly drew forward and knelt beside me.

‘’my love, my princess I guess you must have heard what happened to your cousin?’’ he asked softly. I couldn’t say anything to him, instead I looked away. I couldn’t believe he was actually in my room to talk about Vivian after what he did to me. Yes a part of me felt he came to mock me over Val but then he dropped the flowers on my bed and reached for my hand, making me stare at him one more time. I instantly noticed he had a grave look and his hand shook as our eyes met.
He looked genuinely worried for me but then the events of the past few days were too heavy to ignore and they came flashing back into my head in full force.

‘’I came to apologize over using the wrong approach on you my dear. I was only desperate and acted out of desperation and frustration. There wasn’t any other way to get you to be with me, to get you to see the truth. I knew all along that Val wasn’t real. You have been away from the country too long to know how things happen over here. I found out very late that he was taking advantage of you and Vivian at the same time and I knew you would never believe me considering our relationship. I had to find a way to get you away from him. Yes I knew I took the wrong approach and I’m here to apologize and atone for the pains I caused you and your family. I will do anything to have your trust back. Our families have come a long way. I believe It’s better you trust the devil you know than the angel you don’t. My only mistake was kidnapping you instead of fighting like a man. Please forget all the silly words I said back then. I didn’t know what got over me. I was plain silly. Yes I’m ready to go to jail over it but please I beg of you, forgive me’’ he begged solemnly, leaving me extremely indecisive as he sobbed before me. I had never seen that part of him before.
Of course I was touched.

‘’’ My head is very much filled up right now. I can’t think properly but please stop kneeling for me’’ I stammered.

‘’will you then accept my flowers?’’ he begged seriously. I breathed deeply and took them.

‘’we are cool with each other Charles but I’m not promising anything yet. Moreover you wounded and humiliated me. You almost raped me. I need to come to terms with everything. I need to confront Val and Vivian as well. I need to tell them how I feel about their betrayal’’ I breathed with great energy.

‘’my dear, I really don’t think that will be possible. According to what I heard, your Val isn’t going to make it. He lost quite a lot of blood and he has been unconscious since the previous evening. And as for Vivian, arrangements are being made to get her out of the country for treatment. I think India or so’’ he revealed while I breathed deeply and shrugged.

‘’how much do you know about Val?, were you aware all along that he’s a federal agent?’’ I asked curiously, watching his reaction but unfortunately he gave out nothing. He appeared so cool, not revealing his feelings.

‘’let’s stop talking about that i.diot. I beg of you. I’m happy God has vindicated me” he softly muttered, holding my hands while I closed my eyes.

@ 7:38pm, I went over to the dining room to have dinner with my family. It really was the first time in weeks I was having dinner together with mum and dad. It equally was an opportunity to discuss some family issues. Of course Charles left me a bit confused and indecisive with his apology and all he told me earlier in the day.
He finally left, promising to show up around 7pm to talk to my parents and apologize to them as well.

I was just so vulnerable like a young girl experiencing heartbreak for the first time. The news of my cousin’s romance with Val totally shattered me. I needed someone to lean on and it was as if Charles was just making good use of the opportunity to show a new part of him to me.

On getting to the dining room, dad instantly stood up and hugged me.

‘’my dear, you can’t believe how happy I’m to have you right here. Charles went too far with his games and I’m really sorry for not doing anything about it. I’m so ashamed of myself’’ he breathed with a painful voice.

‘’its okay dad, what matters the most is that I’m right here with you’’ I replied while mum nodded with a smile. Charles walked in on us that moment as if he had been around, hiding in a corner all along. He approached us and knelt before everyone..
‘’I’m so sorry for taking advantage of your goodwill. I’m so sorry for destroying my family’s reputation. My father is no longer talking to me and he already threatened to disinherit me unless I make up with you sir. Please take me back like a prodigal son returning home to his family. I only did what I did out of love and desperation. I promise never to bother Clara ever again’’. He begged with eyes filled with tears. He looked so genuine, so real and so convincing. I never knew when I drew forward and got him to his feet, not minding that he was addressing my father.

‘’dad, mum, you guys should forgive him. Sometimes we do silly things out of love and what he did isn’t an exception. Yes I now know love is never enough to make a relationship work, what matters most is understanding’’ I breathed, shocking my parents with my words. Even Charles was so surprised with all I said. He couldn’t believe himself.

‘’are you saying that you now understand Charles and he also understands you?’’ mum asked with great curiously, unable to hide the excitement in her head. I couldn’t reply her question but deep down I answered her in my heart.
Yes all that matter is ‘understanding’, Real unpolluted love only happens in movies.

Meanwhile Val is seen helplessly lying unconscious in the emergency unit of a government hospital. A middle aged doctor, a team of student doctors and four nurses are seen working tirelessly on him as the clock hanging above them ticks away. Val’s mother can be heard crying so painful at the waiting room.
12pm, the next day @the governor’s mansion
(Clara is seen sitting calmly at the balcony in front of her room reading a newspaper, Charles joins her carrying a bottle of wine and two glass cups)

‘’Deji will be getting married on Saturday, hope you will be attending?’’ Charles asked curiously as he offered me a glass of wine. I shrugged and shook my head.

‘’Deji?, which Deji?’’ I asked, pretending not to recognize the person he was talking about.

‘’come on are you joking or serious?’’ he asked with disbelief while I smiled. Deji was the first son of former deputy governor of Oyo state (3rd republic). He equally was one of Charles’s most loyal friends. However I never had any idea he was getting married.
‘’well he never told me and I don’t think I will be attending’’ I answered.

‘’he sent your invitation through me. The wedding is on Saturday at Abuja. At least you will use the opportunity to meet old friends you haven’t seen for ages’’ he pressed on with a smile. I breathed deeply as I gave him a long look.

Oh yes I already forgave him over the stunt he pulled on me the previous week but I couldn’t get myself to forget it. I was still very much uncomfortable with him and no matter how hard I tried to force myself into feeling very secure with him I just couldn’t.

‘’we will leave for Abuja on Friday and spend the night at my place. On Saturday we leave for the wedding. Once the wedding is over you can decide how long you wish to stay in the city. My job will be to guard and serve you’’ he added pleasantly to impress me. I forced out a smile that never reached my heart.

‘’Charles you very much know that what you did to me the previous week will never leave my memory. I still find it very difficult to be free with you’’ I bluntly told him while he nodded, drew close and reached for my hand.

‘’of course my dear I know. And I will do everything possible to make you trust me again’’ he promised quickly. I breathed deeply.

‘’okay fine, I will attend the wedding with you. I haven’t attended any high profile occasion since I arrived the country’’ I accepted with a smile. His eyes beamed with joy.

By 10am Friday , Charles walked into the lodge expecting to see me well dressed up and ready for the journey ahead. But instead he saw me in sitting room, busy with my phone. I expected him to get angry but Instead of getting angry, he drew close and knelt by my side.

‘’what’s wrong my dear?, you haven’t been picking my calls since 7am and you are equally not dressed up. Don’t tell me you are not going again?’’ he asked breathlessly. I couldn’t help but notice how tensed up he was. Of course he was trying hard to control his real feelings.

‘’I’m still indecisive. I don’t know if I will be going again’’ I muttered looking away like a spoilt child.

‘’come on my dear. I know you don’t feel safe with me but I promise I will never misbehave. I went through a lot of pains arranging for the helicopter that will take us to Abuja. Please consider my feelings as well. I already told Deji and his bride that I will be coming with you. You can’t change your mind at the last minute’’ he begged desperately.

‘’okay fine but where will I be spending the night?. I don’t want to share the same room with you and I know it will be rude, leaving you to sleep over at my family house once we get to Abuja’’ I asked seriously.

‘’you will spend the night in my place but you have nothing to fear. I won’t be very much around because today is equally Deji’s bachelor’s Night and I will spend most of the evening at the party’’’ he answered quickly.

‘’so that means I will be all alone and lonely in your house?’’ I asked, putting him in a tight position with the question. He swallowed hard.

‘’come on why are you being so uptight. It isn’t fair’’ he cried. I laughed, got up and headed to my room to dress up.

The trip to Abuja in a helicopter was another wonderful experience. It was my second time of flying in a helicopter and my first time of going on a long trip in it. Charles was all caring and nice. He was all out to impress me and yes I enjoyed every moment.

When we got to his house later in the day, he never tried anything silly with me, instead kept a respectable distance. He just wanted me to see that he was a changed person. Yes deep down I appreciated everything but to be sincere to myself I wasn’t in love with him and I never promised him anything.
All I did before my parents when he apologized for his wrong deeds was to forgive and accept him back as a friend with the hopes of perhaps getting serious with him in future. But with the way I was seeing my feelings I still had my doubts over how my future with him would turn out. There was no denying my parents were encouraging the relationship just like his parents were and yes it would be good for business and for everyone. That equally was the main reason I was trying hard to be free with him but still I never get turned on nor felt any sexual urge whenever I was with him. Yes I knew love no longer mattered these days but at least a little of it was all I wanted to feel for him.

Saturday, Deji’s wedding

Deji’s wedding was a one in town society wedding that had almost all the personalities in Nigeria attending, From politicians to academia’s, business moguls and expatriates. It was just like an annual get together of the upper class. Almost all my friends were in attendance and yes none of us concentrated very much on the ceremony because of gossips and stories we had to share. It really was wonderful and I was so happy to be there.

The M.C, who was no other person than basketmouth the comedian, did what he was good at by making the second ceremony (reception) as lively as ever.
The event dragged on till around 6:30pm when the M.C, finally announced to everyone’s amazement that he will be in charge of another wedding coming up in few months.

‘’should I reveal the couple?’’ he asked in his usual funny manner, leaving a chorus of yes on everyone’s lips. He then asked the Dj to play him a song.

I laughed heartily as I watched the M.C, dance towards my table, not suspecting a thing. Then suddenly he stopped at the table I shared with Charles and three other friends, cracked a joke and handed over the microphone to Charles while the hall went silent as everyone watched. At that moment I understood what was about happening and my heart froze.
Charles softly took the microphone, pulled out a diamond ring and went on his knees before me.

‘’will you marry me Clara?’’ he asked in front of everyone. Our friends, family, the media, everyone that mattered were all there.

I felt angry, shocked and speechless. Rejecting him was close to impossible. It would be a huge embarrassment.

What should i do?



You are loved beyond words.

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I felt angry, shocked and speechless. Rejecting him was close to impossible. It would be a huge embarrassment.

‘’will you marry me Clara?’’ Charles asked again as sweat instantly drenched his entire body. I never noticed I already spent enough time to give my response. The whole hall was just dead quiet. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through everyone’s mind. I hated Charles for what he was doing to me. There was supposed to be an agreement between us before pulling such stunt. No matter how surprising a lady might look when being prosped to, it’s never entirely surprising to her the way she makes it to appear to be because one way or the other she must have made plans with her man but in my own case there was no such plans hence my pure surprise and confusion. We weren’t even dating for Christ sake and I knew turning him down would turn a whole lot of friends against me. He just used the perfect opportunity to try pinning me down. I understood what he was doing. I understood the desperation and fear in him. I saw no clear way out of it all. Accepting him would make everyone happy but how about me?.

‘’please will you marry me?’’ he asked once again, this time around it looked as if he was almost close to tears. The fear in his eyes was so revealing. I knew he wouldn’t be able to live with the embarrassment if I turned him down in such a place. I pitied him. My heart kind of melted. I didn’t want him to be the victim of a public disgrace. I had to save his pride even if it was going to cost me a whole lot. I forced out a smile and was surprised to see tears form in my eyes. I knew it wasn’t tears of joy. I believe it was tears of confusion or something else. I was under pressure to accept him and I did.

‘’’yes yes I will marry you’’ I finally breathed while claps and shouts filled the air as Charles heaved a sigh of relief, drew close, softly entered the ring on my finger, kissed and hugged me.

‘’thank you Clara for making me a man, thank you for not disgracing me’’ he breathed.

‘’we need to talk’’ I whispered back. Of course we had a lot to talk. We had a lot to sort out.

‘’Is Charles really for real or am I actually following a path that would turn to misery and pain?’’ I asked myself. Yes as a lady I had this double feeling I couldn’t explain.

My phone was soon bombarded with calls and text messages as we headed home, giving me no chance to discuss things with Charles. It was just as if some of my friends who weren’t at the wedding ceremony all got the news of my engagement in a flash. I really was in a very precarious situation. I was very much confused over how to follow things up. Charles on his own part kept smiling like someone who won a jackpot. We got back to his house without discussing a thing.

However as I settled on my bed to think things through, he walked in and sat on the bed.

‘’how do you feel my dear?’’ he asked calmly.

‘’I feel awful. You used me Charles. You took advantage of my trust and forgiveness’’ I replied with a raised tone.

‘’’but I only proposed to you before all our friends for you to see that I’m genuinely in love with you, For you to see that I very much want to be with you, For you to see my seriousness. Come on my dear, don’t tell me I did wrong again. Wasn’t it a good surprise?’’ he asked with an innocent tone. I sat up on the bed, pulled out the ring and offered back to him.

‘’I don’t need your ring Charles. Not now, not yet’’ I said simply, shocking him with my words.

‘’I beg of you Clara?, what is this madness?’’ he breathed, drawing backwards.

‘’I don’t want to be engaged with you yet. I only accepted your proposal in order not to hurt your ego; I did it to help you save face. I didn’t want to embarrass you before everyone’’ I muttered.

‘’then kindly keep the ring and still pretend that all is still fine. I can give you all the time in the world to make up your mind. I really see no reason why you are having a double mind all of a sudden. Every other girl would be happy to marry me but you are so unbelievable. This isn’t fair to me at all. This is supposed to be my happiest day’’ he sulked, trying hard to play the victim.

‘’I don’t care what you say or feel. Just take back your ring or I will throw it away’’ I threatened. He softly took the ring, stood up and left the room without another word. I fell back on my bed and cried. Of course I couldn’t say if I did the right thing or not.

Early the next day, we headed back to the east in a cold mood. Of course after all that happened the previous day, I was so eager to head home because I knew the more I stayed with him the more uncomfortable I would be.
I couldn’t sleep the previous night and very early in the morning I had dressed up and walked up to his room to tell him that I was leaving. At first he appeared confused but when he noticed that I was very determined to leave on my own he had no option than to offer to take me home.

He silently drove, saying nothing to me while I busied myself with my thoughts. I had a lot to think and so his silence never got to me. When we eventually got home around 7:10pm, I simply muttered a quick ‘’thank you’’ to him and headed to my room without turning back.

At exactly 10pm, that same evening, mum surprised me by walking into my room. It was something she rarely did and I couldn’t even remember the last time she came into my room.
She softly sat on my bed, breathed deeply and placed her hand on my body.

‘’how do you feel my dear?’’ she asked

‘’I feel awful mum’’ I confessed.

‘’Charles told me everything and I understand how you feel but you should please act like an adult and stop behaving like a baby. You already accepted him publicly and as far as I know he is yet to do anything that would lead to a change of mind’’ she added softly. I sat up and faced her.

‘’I only accepted his proposal because I didn’t want to embarrass him’’ I defended weakly.

‘’I know but what good will it be for his image, for people to hear that you broke up with him the same evening you accepted him before everyone. It’s still the same as rejecting him publicly?. As far as I know you don’t have any other strong suitor you have feelings for. So take back your ring and act like an adult. You are engaged to him doesn’t mean that you are married to him. Wear his ring and still take your time to make a good decision. For now you are blinded by the past. You can still call it off in the end when have a good reason. You once told me that love is never enough. So calm down, and act like a woman. You already accepted him before the whole world. So take back your ring’’ she said strongly, leaving me with no choice than to obey and hesitantly take back Charles’s ring she brought along. I wore it and looked down. She drew close and hugged me

‘’when I married your father, I liked him, I was a bit fond of him but was never in love with him. I had other admirers who were more fashionable, handsome and presentable than him but I chose him because I saw he had a good future and ambition more than the rest. Now here I’m a governor’s wife and an envy of many women. So my dear, I totally agreed with you when you said love is never enough. You have my spirit and I know you are wise. Charles has all it takes to go far in life and you guys already have a history together’’ she added convincingly, caging my feelings with her subtle words.



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Val’s side of the story continues

(Val is seen talking to agent Jennifer who listens with great interest)

I suddenly woke up from a seemingly terrible nightmare, springing up with great energy as if I was being pursued by a vampire while agent Jenifer who was surprisingly sitting by my side held me back strongly. I stared at her with surprise before taking a calm look round me. I instantly noticed that I was in a hospital.

‘’what happened?’’ I stammered as I felt a sharp pain in my head.

‘’thank God you are awake. I will have to inform the nurses on duty. You have been out since Monday and today is Saturday’’ she said with a smile, stood up and left the room.

I fell back on my bed as everything that happened on Monday slowly flashed back in my head. I couldn’t believe I survived Charles’s brutal attack. It was a miracle. I had a lot to tell Jenifer, I had a lot to learn from her concerning Vivian. But unfortunately as my memory returned, so did the pain I felt all over me increase. It soon became too much to bear.
I strongly fought it back as I waited for Jenifer to return, equally wondering at the same time if Vivian actually survived the onslaught or not. I couldn’t help but play back in my head how she was brutally stabbed while I did nothing to save her. .
Agent Jennifer and two nurses soon came in.

‘’how are you feeling Mr. Val?’’ one of the nurses asked.

‘’I feel pains all over me’’ I answered as the second nurse arranged a needle and syringe which she expertly used on me.
‘’how is Vivian?’’ I managed to ask Jennifer.

‘’she’s fine’’ she replied with a faint smile.

‘’that b.astard tried to kill us. Charles attacked Vivian and I in my house. I need to kill that b.astard’’ I muttered drowsily as the drugs injected on me took over my body. I was soon asleep once again and I really had no time to neither see the expression on Jenifer nor know if she believed me or not. Of course I knew the more time wasted to get Charles could make him bolder and more dangerous.

After some hours

‘’so that was how Charles brutally stabbed Vivian and i that fateful evening and all I just told is exactly how it happened and the threats he made. Right now I’m scared of Clara’s safety and I know my story is hard to believe but I’m also disappointed that you guys didn’t investigate properly before concluding that Vivian and I had a fight and I stabbed her. I’m a trained agent and supposing I wanted Vivian killed, it wouldn’t have been messy as it is’’’ I summarized convincingly while Jennifer nodded.

‘’I believe you Val but for now you should lay low and wait to heal first. By then the department must have made a decision on your case. I believe by that time Vivian must have recovered as well and once she returns to the country, her words will be enough to nail Charles’’ she breathed softly while I returned her gaze with great gratitude. She really sacrificed a lot to keep my mum and i company all the time I was down. There was no doubt she believed in me.

A week later
(Val , agent Jennifer and Val’s mum are seen settling down in his apartment. He looks very okay and healthy)

‘’I’m finally home’’ I breathed with great happiness as I looked around; of course I was so happy to be alive. I definitely was one hell of a lucky guy.

‘’yes you made a very quick recovery. You are such a lucky guy’’ Jennifer muttered excitedly.

‘’Thanks to you my daughter, I hope you will come over to the village in few days time so that I can prepare palm nut stew for you’’ my mother asked happily. It was so obvious that she and Jennifer were getting along very fine. The days they spent together at the hospital really made them bond very strongly.
Jenifer blushed, walked over to my mum and gave her a strong hug.

‘’I don’t know mum, with the look of things I might be returning to my base in Abuja very soon. My work in this town is almost over’’ she answered with a sad tone while my mum gave me a quick look as if she expected me to say or do something.

‘’should we go to my room and talk please?’’ I finally managed to ask Jennifer after a little hesitation. Of course there was really nothing special to say or discuss privately with her. I just made the invitation because I really didn’t know what else to say to her.
She simply nodded and came over to where I stood. I smiled, grabbed her hand and led her to my room.

As soon as we got to my room, I shut the door, turned and faced her. We said nothing to each other for some seconds as we stared at each other, and then suddenly we found ourselves kissing.
I really can’t say if I made the first move or not but then the kiss was so intense and passionate as if it was something we had been planning to do all along.
That moment, I couldn’t explain if it was love, lust or heat.

At that same time, Vivian is seen lying unconscious in a well equipped hospital room. An Indian nurse is seen sitting by her side and watching over her, suddenly she opens her eyes and coughs. The nurse springs up with great excitement and runs out to call the doctor on duty.
‘’ वह जाग रहा है (vah jaag raha hai) (she’s awake)’’ she screams in Hindi.

Clara’s side of the story continues

It’s now exactly one week after I got engaged to Charles yet I couldn’t stop thinking of Val. I had great need to confront him and hear his own side of the story but getting across to him was very impossible. No one was able to tell me anything about him, not even the security guys around. It was as if they had instructions not tell me anything about him. I also couldn’t understand how I lost his number I saved on my phone. When agent Jennifer returned my phone after the kidnap ordeal I discovered that his phone number wasn’t there anymore.
I was still busy with my thoughts when Charles walked in and squatted by my side. He observed me for some seconds before breathing deeply.

‘’you look worried my dear, what’s wrong?’’ he asked softly. I slowly returned his gaze.

It was the first time he was showing up after bringing me home the previous week. Yes we parted ways in an unfriendly manner and I had hoped he was going to stay away for sometime but he only stayed away for a week.

I breathed deeply.
‘’I’m thinking about val. I need to know how he is faring. I need to confront him. I need some kind of closure’’ I muttered strongly. He scoffed.

‘’why do you want to go through the pains of seeing him again huh?. That b.astard doesn’t deserve any consideration. I doubt if he is even still alive. I will investigate and get back to you’’ he promised while I stared at him with disbelief.

‘’are you serious?’’ I asked

‘’of course my dear, I will sacrifice anything for you to be happy. But promise me nothing is going to wound our relationship again’’ he replied quickly, grabbing my hand in an appealing gesture. I nodded in agreement. I just couldn’t make the promise with my mouth but I made it with my head and it seemed okay for him.

‘’I will try to find out the status of his health and get you to meet him if he’s still alive. But also promise me that after having the closer you desire with him that we are getting married by next month’’ he added, surprising me further. I instantly frowned and drew back while he quickly brought his lips forward and kissed me to prevent me from giving any reply to his last request. Unfortunately, his kiss only made me angrier.

I quickly brought down my face, preventing Charles from going any further with his kiss. He smiled nervously and licked his lips as he studied my reaction calmly..

‘’by tomorrow I promise to be back with new information concerning Val. I always keep my promise, trust me’’ he assured me, stood for a while before taking his leave. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply.

Yes I desperately wanted to see Val but I couldn’t tell that moment if my decision to see him was a wise one or not. Nevertheless I found it difficult to wait for the next day to approach. Deep down I equally was greatly surprised that Charles was very willing to assist me in finding Val. It was the last thing I expected him to do and by the look of things he was all out to impress me.

Val’s side of the story continues from the previous episode

‘’I quickly got myself and pulled my lips away from Jennifer who still held unto me tightly with her hands. Her face was all colored up. The sparkle in her eyes was real and revealing. I breathed with my mouth as I met her gaze.

‘’tell me the truth Val, were you really in love with me back then in the camp or you just asked me out for asking sake. I really want to be sure?’’ she asked curiously while I lowered my gaze.

‘’come on how many times will you ask me this same question?. Let’s just forget about the past. Moreover I now have feelings for someone else, even though it looks silly to say right now’’ I replied innocently. She quickly pulled away from me, taking few steps backwards and backing me. I needed no telling that I wounded her ego with my confession.
‘’I’m sorry for being insensitive’’ I stammered, closing in on her from behind. She allowed me embrace her without pushing off my hands.

‘’I like your honesty. It’s rare these days.’’ She breathed, turned and faced me, looking very serious this time around.
‘’concerning the things you told me about Charles. You must be careful this time you are out of the hospital. As long as he is still free out there, you are at risk and I bet you have a lot to lose. He has the money, the governor’s shameless support and even the police with him. He will keep trying until he pulls you down. Just look at your mum and your family. Is Clara worth gambling with your future?. You were lucky the last time, you might not be so lucky again and you are still at risk of losing your job or facing tough disciplinary action from the department. Imagine your Clara never even bothered to visit or know your whereabouts all the time you were in the hospital. That’s how girls like her behave. They are insensitive. They think only about themselves. Is that the kind of wife you want for yourself?. You just have to be wise. I may be leaving for Abuja in few days and might not be there for you any longer. Think about your mother in everything you do’’ she muttered seriously, leaving me so shaken with her words. I was very touched.
All she said were nothing but the truth. Clara never bothered to search for me. She never cared to know how I was faring. Supposing I was dead, it wouldn’t have mattered to her; it would have all been for nothing. I felt bad for the first time.

‘’good night Val’’ Jennifer breathed, forced out a smile, shook her head and left, leaving me with my own thoughts as I battled with my mind over all she said to me. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was letting the woman that loved me from the bottom of her heart slip away all because of my feelings for Clara. For the first time I felt something overly strong for Jenifer, something more powerful than the respect I used to have for her. I wouldn’t call it love but it looked like it. I headed to the sitting room to watch TV and clear my head only to run into my mother who was shutting the entrance door.

‘’you let her go by this hour?. That girl really meant well for you and I hope the sadness I saw in her eyes isn’t what I think it is?’’ she asked, forcing me to draw back and return to my room without answering her question.

All night long, I thought about Jennifer and Clara. I had this great urge to call Clara on phone, to talk to her, to scold her but my pride kicked against it.

Early the next morning, I was woken up by loud knocks coming from my entrance door. I quickly washed my face and mouth before checking who was knocking and on getting to the door; I met the greatest surprise of my life. I opened the door to see Charles smiling at me.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe he still had the courage to show up at my house after what he did the last time. There wasn’t any doubt he was getting bolder with each passing day.

‘’hello Val, I can’t believe you recovered. I’m here for something important. Maybe we can reach a deal’’ he added with a smile, while I gnashed my teeth and controlled my temper. My main worry was my mother who was in the other room.
Yes I knew I was going to face Charles once again but I never knew it was going to be so soon and of course wasn’t really prepared for him. I was just so vulnerable that moment, very vulnerable. I equally didn’t know what he had planned out already and everything just seem to be working perfectly in his favor.



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Clara’s side of the story continues from the last scene of the previous episode

‘’mum I have nothing else to say to you. I’m returning to my room. I’m tired’’ I said a bit rudely, surprising my mother with my outburst. I didn’t wait for her to say anything else and headed to my room to breathe in fresh air.

Meeting Val and equally getting queried by my old lady in the space of few minutes were just too much to handle. I felt like taking alcohol and sleeping off but I knew it wouldn’t do me any good.

After some minutes, Charles knocked and walked in with a smile. I instantly grew tense on seeing him while he smiled confidently.

‘’how are you doing my dear?. You look good today’’ he greeted pleasantly as he drew close and touched my shoulder. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind as the report Val made against him slowly flowed back to my head.

‘’you look good as well’’ I muttered politely, noticing his well matched suit for the first time. He was so well responsibly dressed like someone who wouldn’t dare hurt a fly.

‘’I talked with Val early this morning. You know I promised to get in touch with him’’ he added softly as he sat beside me. I breathed deeply and faced him seriously.

‘’mum told me you are very much eager to fix our wedding date. But you know marriage is a very serious engagement. Yes we are already cool with each other but I want to know the truth. What will be your gain, my family’s gain and that of your family in the union?. Please don’t bring up the love thing again. I’m not a kid. I had a talk with my mother few minutes ago and she couldn’t hide her desperation. If I’m going to marry you, I need to know everything playing down behind my back’’ I demanded seriously. He instantly looked worried, stood up and took few steps backwards. I equally stood up and faced him. His expression confirmed my fears that there were other things at stake.

‘’come on, I want to be your husband because you are the only lady I fancy, I adore, I honor. I have virtually known you more than any of your friends. Your parents trust me more than any other person out there. What sort of interest or benefits are you thinking about?’’ he stammered defensively.

‘’alright since you are not going to open up to me, I have something else to ask. I spoke with Val today and he tried to convince me that you were the person who stabbed him and Vivian at his house. Is it true?’’ I asked seriously, studying his reaction. He quickly turned, headed towards my balcony and stopped at the door.

‘’I can’t believe you believed such a silly accusation. The evening your cousin Vivian was stabbed I was at the police station trying to help out my friends who were arrested when you were rescued from my house. I headed to the DSS office with some police officers later that same evening and I spent almost all night there. Moreover do you think I’m capable of attacking a guy like him on my own?’’ he breathed and turned to face me again. I shrugged.

‘’I really don’t know what to believe but I guess I will have to wait for Vivian to return and tell her side of the story. Thank God she survived’’ I added with a smile but my words only got him angrier.

‘’why are you acting as if you are doing me one huge favor by marrying me?. Our marriage will benefit both of us and not only me. Moreover the only way your dad is going to win his next election, the only way he is going to remain relevant in politics is if you marry me. If not he’s going down with a whole lot of corruption cases on his He needs the support of my family. And if you don’t know, my family controls a big part of the state resources and equally has the financial power to influence the party delegates in every election. Your dad knows that, and even before becoming the state governor he signed an agreement that he had no way of fulfilling before the end of this current tenure. The only sure solution he has right now in order to kick and fight back the opposition building up against him is by forming a stronger alliance with my family through marriage. All the apology show i pulled off before him in your presence was all a charade to impress you and your mother. You have to start seeing me as your husband and not as an option. Moreover I’m very much in love with you and that’s why I’m letting myself to be used and ridiculed. I have already done a whole lot of regrettable things just to win your heart.
Sometimes happiness is just a choice. We have to take it or give it up. I’m the only man that can give you stability’’ he breathed, drew close and held me by the waist as I stared into his eyes, unable to say a word.

Deep in my heart I still felt he was lying even though his outburst sounded very truthful.

Val’s side of the story continues

Seeing Clara that fateful morning brought in a whole lot of old memories but with the way our conversation ended, I knew I had to push away old memories and move on with my life since she already made her choice. Jennifer was right all along and somehow I regretted backing away from her all because of Clara.

All day long, I thought of what next to do with my life and couldn’t really come up with anything. I equally thought about Vivian and really wished I could see the future.

Early the next day, I took my mother back to the village with a whole lot of gratitude in my heart. There is nothing as pure and wonderful as the love of a mother. No matter how ugly, bad and poor you are, her love would still be unshakeable. Mothers are unique.

‘’my son, I really don’t know what’s going on with your love life but try and fix up yourself. No woman is perfect. You are not getting any younger and I wish I could force you into marrying Jennifer. That girl made sure you were alright when you were down at the hospital’’ she breathed when we got to the village. I smiled, hugged her and kissed her goodbye before heading back to the city.

5:34pm, same day.
I was in the process of opening my apartment entrance door, when someone closed in from behind and covered my eyes. I smiled as the familiar perfume of the stranger hit my nostrils. Of course the person was no other person than Jenifer.

‘’I never knew I would see you again’’ I smiled as I brought down her hands.

‘’I came to say good bye for the last time. I’m leaving tomorrow’’ she replied as she followed me into my apartment.

‘’I equally was asked to inform you that a decision has been reached over your conduct in the department. You have been placed on three months suspension without pay and you equally stand the chance of being transferred to another state at the end of the suspension. You can go to the department to get your suspension letter whenever you are free’’ she informed me with a frown while my heart froze. I couldn’t believe it.

‘’this is so unfair’’ I screamed. She drew close and held my hands.

‘’just leave the issue as it is. You can do a lot with your three months break. You can go stay with your mum. You can travel out of the country. You can equally stay with me at the federal capital city’’ she breathed with a smile. I dropped my eyes.

‘’Life has taken everything away from me, my job, my Clara’’ I muttered.

‘’no you still have your family. You still have me, though I’m leaving right now’’ she added and hugged me tightly. I felt like begging her to stay for a while but just couldn’t.


Val’s side of the story continues

Location : Mbano, (Val’s family house)
I whistled happily as I inspected my mother’s poultry farm at our backyard. I really couldn’t understand the special feeling of happiness I was having that fateful morning. Of course it really was a miracle that I survived my suspension in the first place and was now on the verge of going back to the city to report to work.
Somehow I felt the suspension I got was nothing but a miracle in disguise because it gave me the much dreamt opportunity of spending quality time at home with my dear mother. Yes the two months I spent at home was very much well spent. I recovered my energy, my weight and my life. I equally was able to turn my mother’s little poultry that housed only native birds into a very big poultry farm with two paid workers.

Yes at first it really wasn’t easy staying all day long in a very quiet village that had little or no lively activities to occupy one’s mind. But I soon got used to it and was even able to get Clara and my past mistakes behind me. I really was lucky to survive it all and I swore never to make another silly mistake over a woman.
I whistled happily as I moved my attention to the day old chicks we got the previous day. I was happy with what I saw. I couldn’t help but count the fortune I was going to make out of them in six months time. I smiled to myself, happy to be a farmer and wishing I could stay a little longer in the village to make the sales myself. I slowly made my way to the last section of the farm, housing some native fowls I was growing for cross breeding. I loved experiments and I was hopeful they were going to give me the result I needed.

‘’Val’’ I heard a soft familiar voice call my name. I froze as I listened again, not really sure of what I heard the first time.
‘’Val it’s me Clara’’ i heard the second time and turned to see Clara standing just before me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked very impossible. I couldn’t imagine how she got to my village house, how she made the journey and who led her to my place. My mind instantly went towards Charles as I drew back with confusion, wondering what the i.diot was up to by leading her to my place.

‘’what are you doing here?, who led you here?’’ I asked guardedly. She smiled and shrugged.

‘’I confided to the head of my security that I needed to see once again and she led me here. She’s also from your community’’ she replied and signaled to her companion who was standing a distance away. She slowly walked up to her with a smile.

‘’good day Mr. Val. We have met before but I don’t think you still remember’’ the female officer greeted but she wasn’t my problem. My problem was seeing Clara standing before me uninvited.

‘’so why are you here?, the last time we talked you made it clear that you no longer trusted me. I hope I’m safe or you came to spoil my suspension which is ending in few weeks?’’ I asked rudely.

‘’come on Val’’ the female office tried to intervene but Clara tapped her hand.

‘’just leave us alone please’’ she softly said to her. She shrugged and headed back to the front of the compound while Clara and I stood facing each other at the back yard.

‘’so what now”’ I asked her.

‘’I’m getting married to Charles in three weeks time and I’m here to make peace with you and equally confirm some things from you. Ever since that day I walked out on you, I haven’t been myself. Please tell me the truth. My depends on it. I need to know if it was Charles that actually stabbed you and Vivian at your apartment?. I never believed your word back then because I knew you were blinded with rage but right now I’m about making a lifelong commitment and I’m appealing to you. Tell me the truth, did Charles actually go that far?’’ she appealed solemnly while I stared at her without showing any sign of sympathy.
Supposing it were two months ago, supposing it was even a month ago, I would have been touched by her presence but on the contrary I felt nothing. My heart was already locked up in my late father’s cupboard and perhaps that was the reason I felt no chills, no current, no passion, no excitement on seeing her beautiful face.

‘’the only answer I have right now is for you to wait and talk to your cousin Vivian. She survived, didn’t she?’’ I asked with a scornful smile, surprising her with my nonchalant attitude. She just couldn’t believe herself.

‘’Val I came all the way down here to seek you and this attitude is what I get?’’ she stammered while I scoffed.

‘’no you came here to tell me that you are getting married. Congrats on that but also know that you are no longer my problem. In the next two weeks my suspension will be over and I will start all over again. You made a mistake coming here. I have nothing to tell you over the answer you seek. As you can see I’m busy with my fowls and you just interrupted me. Good bye Clara’’ I said coldly, turned and faced my fowls, whistling to them as I resumed what I was doing before she walked in. she stood for a while before walking away without another word.

Did I act right?

Meanwhile at that same moment, Vivian is seen with her mother, her brother and doctor Chinedu heading out of Murtala Muhammed international airport. Vivian looks super excited to be back in Nigeria, while a distance away, an immigration officer is seen dialing Charles number.

See gobe!!!!!!!



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