EPISODE 8 “Wouldn’t you have your seat, Mr. Coker?” Patricia asked with a smile as she waited in vain for Michael to speak. “What do you want Miss Williams?” Michael asked in return, still not moving his position; he could almost be mistaken for a mannequin. “Ooohhh, eager right? Why don’t we sit calmly like two adult so we can talk properly?” Pat threw back, matching his calm perfectly. “If the vague rumors and news are correct, nothing about your visits are calm, so why don’t we get in the mood right from the beginning?” Patricia raised her brow and smiled. “I love a man who doesn’t beat around the bush.” She murmured and still got no facial expression from Michael. She wondered how Alexander managed to fall for such a cold man. Well, what a shame! “It is good that rumor is a familiar subject to you because I am here to get out the facts from you. The news taking over the entire country and beyond is the fact that you are gay; what do you have to say about this?” For the first time ever, Michael moved away from the massive glass which was facing her because of its position behind Michael’s large table. Michael moved to the small portable fridge and extracted a pack of juice and a glass. For a second, Patricia actually thought he did not hear her question and when he took out the juice, she also thought he was finally making an effort at being hospitable but when he filled a glass and raised it to his own lips; she swallowed her fury and disgust and kept a straight face. “Is that why you flew to Nigeria from Canada? To meddle in my affairs and find out if I am gay?” Michael finally said, sitting. “Oh, you are not big enough to bring me from Canada” she said factually, looking disgusted. “But meddling in your affairs is my business just as stocking people’s phones with irrelevant and annoying offer messages is your business” she dropped. “At least I don’t read my customers’ messages, listen to their telephone conversations or ask them to tell me about their private lives” Michael said as he dropped into his seat. “Well, meddling is my business. But I am not here to discuss what I do; it is pretty obvious to everyone who knows me. I am here to talk about who you are… or rather, what you are” she grinned. “You know what? My being here is not only professional, it is also personal. Tell me, why did you go out with my cousin when you knew you were obviously interested in an asshole?” Michael raised his eyes to hers sharply. “You should have known what you were getting yourself into; I protect my own, I always do” “Well then what are you doing here then?” “To confirm if the rumors are real, there are facts; on net. I must say that you have a…” she ran her eyes from his chest to his eyes. “… nice physique.” She said with disgust. “It does not look like you need a confirmation, it is obvious that you have drawn your conclusions, why waste time here? You can write your reports on all the rumors you have.” “Oh no Mr. Coker, I don’t work that way. I have never come up with a broadcast that was later judged false and the same goes for ‘Tellers’. We speak the truth” she boasted proudly. “Yeah right, well, you are just wasting your time because I won’t feed you with any ridiculous story” “Oh, you will Michael Coker, you can count on that. You know me right? Truth cannot be hidden from me, especially, not one that is very open.” She stood up and made for the door. “I wonder; did you dress so enticingly to seduce the answers out of me?” Patricia turned speedily and pinned Michael with a glare but he raised his glass of juice to her in salute and she had to bring down her anger before it skyrocketed, she opened the door and went out, closing the door as gently as her temper could allow her. ********** ********** Alexander tapped her foot restlessly on the floor as she waited for Teresa at Regs Restaurant. She knew it was just a few minutes past twelve and she should not be so testy but she couldn’t help it. She checked her wrist watch again and picked up her phone to call Teresa again. She glanced through the large restaurant and saw few people. The restaurant was a good environment which also gave a certain level of privacy. The call went unanswered and she almost jumped for joy when she looked up and saw Teresa coming into the restaurant. She waved at her and Teresa quickly saw her and made her way to the seat. “Hey babes, how are you? Sorry I am late” she said, dropping her bag and lowering herself to the chair without the usual hugs and kisses that the two ladies often shared. Alexa was grateful for this too, she was in no mood for pointless pleasantries. “Better late than never” Alexa said. “I’ll second that. Now spill it, I almost could not breathe since you called me, what is happening?” Teresa said hastily. Teresa had thought a million times of how to tell her closest friend her predicament but now that it was actually happening, she was at a loss. “How do I tell you this?” “Alexander, you better open your mouth and spill it” Teresa warned, already tired of the long suspense. “I am scared Teresa, I am doomed.” Alexa ran her hands through her hair and bent her eyes. Teresa groaned and raised her eyes heavenwards. “I am pregnant” “What?” Teresa yelled suddenly and heads turned in the restaurant to look at them. “Alexa, how can you say such rubbish?” she said, trying to reduce her voice. Alexander swallowed heavily. “Control yourself idiot, people would hear you” Alexa took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself. “What do I do Teresa?” “You are not being serious, are you?” “I found out about two nights ago and almost died Teresa; my parents, how would they hear this? Our family name… oh God, this is worse than a shipwreck?” “Have you told Michael?” “No! Never! And I won’t tell that bastard anything” Alexa said with her voice rising. “You never told me you both had problems, what did he do this time?” Teresa asked, not happy that a lot had happened and she was just hearing about it. Teresa choked. “What?” this was the second time she would exclaim. People turned to them again and she swallowed. “What else are you hiding from me Alexa uhn? Too many things are hidden from me” she said bitterly. “Does this look like fun news to you? Is it good news that I am pregnant for a gay?” Alexa took a deep breath. “It is all over the net Teresa, it is not hidden” “Wow… what do we do now?” Alexa exhaled and put her head in her palms. A waiter approached the two ladies with a smile. “Good afternoon madam” he greeted Alexa and proceeded to do the same to Teresa before turning to face Alexander again. “Ma, I was asked to give you this” he said and stretched a picture. Alexander’s mouth dropped open as she stared at the picture in the waiter’s hand. Teresa peeked and gasped. The waiter, seeing the commotion, dropped the picture and started retreating. “Come back here, who gave you this?” Teresa asked, taking the picture in her hand. “A lady did but did not tell me her name. Please excuse me” The guy hurried off, leaving the two ladies to stare at the picture of a wedding which not only had Michael as an attendant but as the groom. ********** ********** Felicia had been about to enter Reg’s Restaurant when she sighted Alexander from afar and stopped. It had come as a surprise that Alexander was there but she did not want to meet the woman yet, it might ruin her plans, but she could not let the opportunity slide. A brilliant idea had struck her and she had opened her purse and removed the picture she always kept in it. She had called the waiter, tipped him and watched as he walked to Alexa’s table with the picture in his hands. When the picture was successfully delivered and she saw the reactions, she smiled and turned. She instantly called Sophia. “Hey babes… I know but Alexa is in the restaurant… yes, meet me at Tantalizers instead, there is a new development” ********** ********** Belina waited for Felix and her anxiety rose with each passing minute. She had a feeling that something very defaming was going on. The thought of the report that Felix would give almost drove her mad with anxiety. Her intercom rang and she instantly picked up. Her secretary told her that Felix was waiting and she heaved a sigh, telling her to show him in. When Felix entered, he greeted Belina but would not meet her eyes. “How did it go? Did you get what I asked?” Felix swallowed. “I don’t know if I should tell you this ma’am” “Of course you would tell me what you found out, that is why I sent you” “You would not like what I have to say ma” Belina sighed. “I know that already, now spill it” ********** ********** Alexander got home about two hours later with a terrible headache. She did not think she could handle anything anymore, all she wanted to do was cry herself to sleep. She hadn’t noticed her mum’s car outside but as she entered, she saw her mum pacing the sitting room. “Good afternoon mum” she greeted with a frown. “Is everything ok?” Belina’s eyes shot her a thousand bullets as she stopped midstride to stare at a daughter she could not identify. She was glad that the maid was not home because she did not need to worry about being heard. Belina marched towards Alexander and watched as fear creaped to the eyes of her daughter but she couldn’t care less. Alexander shrank as her mum approached with a thousand thoughts floating through her head. Belina hadn’t reached Alexander when her hand swung out and connected forcefully with Alexa’s cheek. Alexa whimpered and even Belina’s hand vibrated from the force of the slap. “How dare you?” Belina yelled. “How dare you do this to us Alexa? After all I taught you, after all the values I instilled on you, after all the love and care that your dad and I gave you; is this how you pay us? By dragging the family name in the mud? Tell me” Belina yelled. “Mum, I am sorry” Alexander cried. There was no use pretending again, it was obvious that there was nothing to hide again. “You are sorry?” Belina cried out. “Oh, so now you are sorry. When you found out, why did you not tell me? You lied to me, telling me that Teresa was traveling out while you went out to meet her and unburden yourself. What happened to the time you always came to me with your troubles?” “I am sorry mum, how could I tell you such a thing” Alexa cried as she crumbled to her knees. “I was scared of what you would do if I told you that I was pregnant” Alexa sobbed. Belina gasped and froze. What is going on? She wondered. For several seconds, only Alexander’s sobs filled the silence until Belina got her speech back. “You are what?” “I am so sorry mum, I never meant for this to happen” “You are pregnant?” Alexander raised her eyes to meet her mum’s shocked and stricken gaze. “Didn’t you know?” Alexa was more alarmed now. The door opened and Richard entered. He stood stupefied at the scene before him. “What is going on here?” he asked but no one could answer, they were all dealing with various levels of shock.
EPISODE 7 Belina arrived home later than she had envisaged. Prisca had successfully dragged her out of the house to help her interview the new salesgirls that applied to her boutique. Belina had been uncomfortable throughout, thinking of what to make of Alexander’s strange attitudes. Belina entered the sitting room and dropped her keys on the chair. Tolani came to welcome her but all Belina needed was her daughter. “Where is Alexa?” she asked. “In her room ma” the girl responded. Curiosity took over. “Has she left the house after I left?” “No ma, she never left her room once” the girl said, also awed by that odd fact. Belina frowned and waved the girl away as she went up to Alexander’s room. A million things went through Belina’s head but what she felt was more logical was that Alexander might be having problems with Michael. Belina knew Alexa to be very emotional because she always loved deeply so she knew that problems with Michael would affect Alexander a lot. She got to the door and paused when she heard Alexa’s voice. Eavesdropping was something that Belina detested but she found herself carrying out the mundane act. Moving close to the door, she silenced even her breathing to hear the muffled words. “I am finished Teresa” she heard Alexa say. “…I need to see you… Yes, tomorrow is fine… no, no, I would come to you… Lunch? Can’t it be in the morning… ok, fine… I would tell you when I get there…” Belina opened the door and Alexa suddenly hung up and spun like a top. Her face was pale. Like the writer that she was, she tried to cover it up. She placed her hand on her chest dramatically. “Oh, mum, you scared. Is the house on fire? I never knew you were back” she threw all at once. “What is going on Alexa?” Belina asked. Alexa frowned. “I don’t understand mum” “Don’t you dare play the innocent card Alexa, what is the matter with you? You are behaving strangely” Belina’s voice rose a notch. “I heard you talking now, who were you talking to?” Alexa started stammering. “Sit” Belina commanded and Alexa instantly dropped onto the bed. Belina stood with folded arms. “Now spill it before I draw it out of you” “Mum, there is nothing wrong, believe me” Alexa said with a stamp. “I see… and that is why you are pale” Belina raised her brow. “is everything Ok with Michael?” Alexa gasped then quickly comported herself. “Of course mum, why would you think otherwise.” Alexa quipped silently. “Where were you off to this morning?” Belina continued to interrogate. “I told you mum, I saw a friend off to the airport” Alexa said, looking exasperated. “Oh, I remember now” Belina said vaguely. “Which friend is that?” “Teresa” Alexander said without thinking and Belina raised her brow. “Alright dear, I trust you. You know you can come to me when you have problems right?” Alexa nodded. “Ok baby, I would go and freshen up now, go and eat, you look as white as sheet” Belina smiled and walked out. Immediately the door closed, Alexa collapsed on the bed with her hands on her head. Water came to her eyes and floated down her cheeks. “I am finished” she murmured. Her life was in shambles. ********** ********** Patricia parked her car at the car park in front of the massive ‘TEL’ building. She had turned a deaf ear to everything her parents had said about how much she needed to rest for some days before going back to work. Pat did not need to be alone, she needed work just as she needed fresh air. Solitude was a medicine that Patricia discovered could slowly lead to a painless and boring death. Working took Patricia off her own personal problems and gave her something to think about. Pat hadn’t reported to the office and she is not due to return to work for the next two weeks. Pat had decided to use the two weeks to work on her first assignment so that she would resume powerfully. Patricia’s pencil heels clicked away as she walked confidently into the massive building. She was clad in black fitted pencil jeans which clung to her body from hips to feet. She had red heels on, followed by a red and black shirt which was neatly tucked into her trousers. Her hair was neatly packed on her head and plaited into a single braid which hung down. Patricia arrived at the receptionist’s desk on the ground floor and the lady smiled at her, clearly not knowing her. “You are welcome ma’am, I am Clara; how may I help you?” The receptionist asked sweetly. “Oh, I am Patricia Williams from ‘Tellers’ newspaper, I am here to see Mr. Coker” The name of the newspaper seemed to sink in and the lady straightened. She nodded several times. “Do you have an appointment?” Patricia smiled internally. Who in his right mind books appointments with Pat Williams? “Something like that” she murmured. The receptionist led her to the elevator which she entered and went up to the last floor. On getting there, she went to the lady who was apparently Michael’s secretary. The lady recognized her instantly and Patricia smiled at the job made easy. “Hi” Pat said. “Hello ma’am” the secretary said, standing. “I guess you already know who I am, I am here to see Mr. Coker” Pat said instantly. “Oh, does he know you are coming? I mean erm…” “I don’t think so” Pat murmured. “Oh, ok, let me inform him” Pat smiled. “Since you know me, you should know that I don’t get invited, I invite myself” Patricia turned instantly and walked to the door. The secretary immediately picked her desktop intercom and called her boss. Patricia opened the door without any formality and Michael, who had been facing the massive transparent glass, suddenly turned at the rude intrusion. Immediately Michael turned, Pat raised the camera in her hand and snapped instantly. After that shot, she dropped the camera in her bag and raised her eyes to look at Michael. Cool indifference and something that looked like fury flared in Michael who looked as unmovable as a rock. Patricia had to admit that Michael looked far better that he looked in pictures. She had thought him handsome before, just by looking at the pictures but now, he looked striking and overpowering. “Hi” she murmured, finally closing the door. “Miss Williams” he called back in a voice what was both quiet and loud, she did not know which. His voice was as strong as he looked and a lesser woman would have quivered but Patricia was not that kind of woman. She greeted his stony and expressionless face with a smile and walked to the office chair facing his table. She dropped into it and crossed her legs in front of her then met Michael’s gaze again with her smile firmly in place. Michael hadn’t moved a muscle. “Nice to finally meet you Mr. Coker” she murmured. ********** ********** Alexander sat at the table as she forced food down her throat. She hadn’t been able to sleep throughout the night and when she had dozed off, the maid had come to call her for her breakfast. The meal was prepared already and Belina had scolded Alexa for sleeping for such a long time. Alexa had to keep up the pretence that everything was alright as she ate. Silence reigned at the dining as she ate without real enthusiasm. She felt the gaze of her mum on her as she ate but she did not dare to meet her eyes. She thanked God for the umpteenth time that her dad was in the hospital, seeing to a critical patient, it would have been extremely hard, if not impossible to hide the truth from both dad and mum. Belina’s phone rang and she got up instantly, scrambling for her bag. She allowed the call to ring out without picking it until the phone stopped ringing. “Alexa, I am off to ‘Bells’, take care of yourself and sleep, you look like you were up all night. Are you sick?” Alexa swallowed. “No mum, I was writing all night” “Oh” Belina said then nodded. “Ok, take care”. After a mother to daughter kiss, Belina was off. Alexa packed her food instantly and went to dump it in the kitchen before retreating to her room. She took her phone and called Teresa. “Hello babe, let’s meet at ‘Regs Restaurant’… yes, twelve… thanks” she hung up and wrapped a blanket around her body. ********** ********** Belina got down from her car and met the guy that was already waiting for her outside her complex. “Morning Felix” “Good morning ma” he responded with slight bow. “I hope you have not been waiting for a long time” “Oh, no ma” “Ok, here is what I want you to do. I need you to follow my daughter, find out who she is meets today and get their conversation.” The guy frowned and Belina explained. “She wants to meet a friend today, I think it should be a girl, but I am particularly interested in their conversation. She is still at home now; can you do this for me without being seen?” The guy smiled. “It is very easy ma, I can do it” “Good, come with me” ********** ********** Felicia dropped her tab which she was using to watch an assassin movie she had downloaded. She paused the movie and took out her small blackberry phone which was ringing. “Hey Sophia” she said immediately she picked up. “How is everything over there… I trust you… why don’t we meet so that we can reconcile our plans… yes… Ok, since your lunch break is twelve thirty, why don’t we meet one o’clock… perfect… ok, meet me at ‘Regs restaurant’… ok, bye”. Felicia smiled and dropped the phone, picked up her tab and continued the movie.
EPISODE 6 Michael paced his office with every nerve in his body screaming for release. He had never been this confused in his life. He caught sight of the pictures which were on full display on his laptop and he froze again, staring at the pictures in stupefied horror. About two days back, Michael had noticed that the company had changed. He hadn’t been able to pinpoint what the matter is, but he had received numerous stares from people, even his staff. The reason for the long stares was foreign to him but he had shrugged it off. But now, how could he bear the thought that everyone saw him as a gay? The Intercom rang and he grabbed it instantly. “What?” he barked. “Sir, erm, your friend, Mr. Eric is here. Should …” “Send him in” Michael barked again and slammed the phone back in its cradle. He paced the length of the office until the door finally opened and Eric walked inside in his usual calm composure. “Alright, what is it man? Is the world ending today?” he asked as he sat on the chair. “There is no situation you don’t make light of right? Well, let’s see you make light of this” Michael roared angrily as he turned the laptop to face Eric. Eric frowned and stood up from the couch he was sitting on. He bent the screen of the laptop till it was facing his. “You never told me you were a model Michael” he murmured and Michael groaned, wanting to hit Eric. “This is more than enough invitation for sex-seeking women” he said. “I regret inviting you here” Michael hissed. “Oh shut up” Eric shot back. “Now, tell daddy; what has you so worried?” Michael hissed. “That nonsense is making me nuts you moron” Michael yelled. “I can’t even understand this shit. I have never taken these pictures” Eric frowned. “Then, how come you posted them on your Facebook account” “Don’t you still understand this shit? I did not post them” “Wow, let me get this straight. Someone hacked into your Facebook account and posted pictures of you on your wall” Eric thought out loud. “Yeah! Only, those are pictures that I never knew existed, I mean; how would I take these pictures. I don’t do nude, I am surely not the one in that picture.” “Oh, Michael, one thing is certain – you are the one in this picture. If you never took this pictures, then I guess whoever did this did some computer editing to get this” “I have thought of that but these pictures look too real, I can’t imagine any computer doing these” Michael put in, totally frustrated. “You would be surprised. Who is behind you Michael?” “Damned if I know” Michael swore then laughed bitterly. “It would have been better if it all stopped here” “There is more?” Eric now looked worried. Michael ran his hands through his hair. “They have me labeled as a gay” “What?” It was Eric’s turn to raise his voice in stunned surprise. Michael laughed strangely. “It is good to know that someone else is as stunned as I am” Eric stared for some seconds at a loss. “Wait, I don’t get this” he finally said. “What made people call you gay? Is it because of these pictures? We have numerous made models who showcase their muscles like this but that does not make them gay. Who called you that anyways?” Michael swallowed and bent over the laptop, launched a site he hadn’t been able to keep looking at. There was silence for a very long time and Michael took a second to marvel at the speechless state of Eric. Eric was never caught unawares; he was always very vocal, no matter the situation. After a very long silence, Eric finally spoke. “It would have been better if the picture did not look a whole lot like you” he murmured. Michael sighed and went to the massive glass which oversaw the large city. Cars and human beings went about looking like ants from his vantage point. He had always felt in control here, in this office. Nothing shook him, even his office made him look larger than life but someone somewhere had totally gone round all his defenses and brought him to his toes. Who had he offended which was capable of this? “This is bad Michael, really bad. This alone can ruin your life and reputation. My God! Being gay is now against the law” Michael sighed again, finally going to sit down. “Alexander was here” Eric winced. Michael’s gaze looked haunted. Eric did not like this. “I can imagine what it must have been like” Michael smiled painfully. “No, you can’t. It was all like a movie man, I have never seen Alexa that way, she looked so hurt; so shattered” Michael swallowed. “Give her time, she would get over it” Michael laughed. “She can get over a cheating man, a dishonest man or any other trait, but a gay? I don’t think so. She didn’t even believe a word I said in my defense; what is there to believe anyways, there is evidence which says the exact opposite.” ********** ********** Escaping into her room had been very easy for Alexa, with Patricia’s help. After the two ladies had jumped on each other like two years old kids, Alexa had hurriedly greeted everyone, and then faced Patricia who dragged her towards her room. As Alexa went, she caught the frown on her mum’s face and knew she was not out of trouble yet. Patricia slammed the door and turned to Alexa. “Oh my, look at this yesterday’s infant” “Cut it out now before I tickle you” Alexa threatened, grinning. Of all the things that Alexa thought possible this fateful day, she had never imagined grinning happily while her sentencing tool lay in her bag. She dropped the bag inside her wardrobe hurriedly and closed the wardrobe before Pat decided to do what she did best, investigate. Alexa jumped on the bed, trying desperately to look as happy as she should. Patricia was almost like a best friend to Alexa, apart from being a cousin. Alexa felt that it was due to the closeness of their mothers. “So, how was yanki?” “Hmmm, it was good and stressful” Alexa raised her brow. “That is what you all say, does that explain why you are looking so fresh? I could not stop boasting whenever I saw you on air; you have made waves even in a foreign land” Patricia laughed. “Oh, come on. What of you? I have watched too many movies which were written by you. You are looking much more stunning also; I almost did not recognize you” Alexa smiled. She was sure that her face alone was enough to stun people because she had just received exceedingly stunning news. Alexa loved writing, it was the only thing that she knew she did flawlessly. Leaving the house had been good for her because she had been able to write without disturbance. Patricia also wrote but her only niche was writing reports and articles after thorough investigation, Alexa wrote stories and novels. Patricia turned serious. “Yes, I could not wait to get here. Are you still with Michael Coker, the guy you always told me about?” Alexa swallowed and wondered how to answer the question. If she said yes, she knew that it would only take few seconds for Patricia to know that it was a lie; if she said no, it was certain that Pat would ask why. “Why do you ask?” Alexa said instead. “I want to know, why else would I ask?” Patricia pushed. “Why do I have the feeling that you came back from Canada to interrogate me?” Alexa asked. “Maybe because you feel I am so concerned about you, which is correct, so, answer me. Are you with him?” “Well, erm…” “Yes or no?” Pat pushed. “No” Alexa yelled. “You are such a pest, you have not been back for ten minutes and you are already under my skin” “Oh, great. Then my first assignment in Nigeria has been made easy” Patricia sighed. “What does that mean?” Alexa didn’t like this. “I have been seeking for a transfer back to Nigeria for over six months but ‘Tellers’ had been postponing my request. All of a sudden I was granted the transfer over a week ago, I knew they needed me.” she paused and frowned. “When did you both break up?” Alexa swallowed. “Today” “Wow. Oh my God!” she wrapped her arms around Alexa who shrugged off, refusing to be pitied. “So, you were saying?” “Do you know about the ‘gay’ stuff?” Alexa winced. This bizarre news had spread throughout the globe and it would just be a matter of hours before her parents heard of it.. She closed her eyes and managed a nod. “I am sorry I asked; it must hurt badly. Although, as I was saying, a day before I got on the plane, I received my first assignment. Michael Coker is my first assignment; I have to get the facts from the man himself.” ********** ********** Alexander got her breakthrough some hours later. Just like a miracle, everyone seemed to vanish. Her mum was dragged along by Aunt Prisca, reasons unknown, both her dad and Uncle Tony had to rush off to their various hospitals to attend to emergencies. Aunt Prisca had talked ceaselessly with Patricia until Pat agreed to go home and rest. When Belina had tried to get off Prisca’s claws, Alexa had combined forces with her Aunt in order to make sure her mum left the house. Alexa saw the curious and suspicious look on her mum’s face but she didn’t care, she would find a perfect excuse for her mum later when the time came. It was such a relief to finally be alone. After seeing everyone off to their cars, Alexa quickly retreated to her room. After closing the door, she dashed to the wardrobe and pulled out her bag clumsily. After removing the test sticks, she ran into the toilet. She took out a bowl, forced out urine from her bladder and threw the two sticks into the urine. She saw on the pack that the sticks needed to stay in the urine for five minutes. She swallowed as her hands shook uncontrollably. She left the toilet and went to the kitchen, filled a cup with water and drank everything at a go. She felt dizzy as she went back into the room some minutes later. Alexa stared at the toilet door for what seemed like hours until she finally mustered the strength to open it. She walked to the bowl with her heart in her mouth and shakily took out the sticks. The two sticks had the same sign. Her eyes blurred until it finally settled on the (+) sign on the sticks.
EPISODE 5 Alexander mopped her eyes and blew her nose on the hankie that Anita thrust into her palm which she gratefully took. No sooner had she mopped the tears than fresh tears replaced them. She was happy that the cafeteria was not so filled, giving a small level of privacy. “Do you mind sharing what is eating you up?” Anita offered quietly after Alexa had regained her composure. Alexa sniffed several times and looked at Anita squarely. “Why are you being nice to me?” she asked. “I thought you hated me… at least, I expected you to” Anita smiled. “I did when I knew who you were to him at first. I would definitely be jealous if I were in your shoes. Michael is the dream of any woman with a vagina. He is so sexy with all the muscles in the right places; perfect places actually” she corrected. “He is handsome, elegant, rakish…” Anita’s face turned dreamy. Alexa frowned as she stared at Anita who had turned quiet and thoughtful. Alexa grabbed the steaming cup of coffee to keep her fingers from strangling Anita for visualizing her Michael so much. Or he was her Michael. She sipped and the hot liquid almost burnt her tongue. “You sound like you have a crush on him; besides, you are a woman with a vagina” Anita avoided meeting Alexa’s stern gaze. “I did and still do”. Alexa’s eyes shut up at the confirmation. So she had been right all along! “But I knew better than to nurture that feeling” Anita finished. “What does that mean?” “You found out right? That is why you are so upset.” Anita said knowingly and Alexa froze slightly, knowing that the images of Michael’s Facebook was as public and open as a whore’s legs. “Upset doesn’t cover it, try alarmed, even that seems shallow to what I feel currently.” Alexa said in one breath, and then later frowned. “Why do I have the distinct feeling that you knew earlier?” “I did” Anita said simply. Alexa sat up straight. “You did? So you knew all along that he was…” she glanced around and lowered her voice. “You knew that he was gay and you did not breathe a word of it to me?” she was alarmed. So this woman knew she was sinking into a stinking narrow pit and enjoyed watching the show? “You wouldn’t have believed me. Who would have believed such an unbelievable truth? It still sounds ridiculous currently even with all the proof. Besides, you might have poured it all out at Michael’s feet and the job I struggled hard to get would be over” Anita lamented. Alexa knew Anita was saying the truth. “How did you know?” “I saw the way he occasionally checked out men that came into his office whenever I was there. He looks at them, and I mean, really checks them out. At first I did not think much of it but after noticing it for a while; I discovered the awkward and degrading fact. He is with you now but I am sure he would rather be with one of his male friends”. That stung and Alexa drank from her cup to drive away the sting of the foul words but it was replaced by the sting of a burnt tongue as the exceedingly hot coffee hit her mouth. She swallowed hard and dropped the cup. “he ‘was’ with me. I dumped his sorry ass” she said sternly and wished the words did not hurt so much. Life without Michael would be really hard. “That is a right move” Anita nodded with vigor. “The relationship is already headed for the rocks, so, the earlier you get off the speeding boat, the better. At least, you don’t have a baby to deal with” Alexa almost choked on the hot coffee she had picked up again. She paled as Anita’s words registered. Anita frowned. “Or is there?” “No… No, of course not. I was imagining what an awful thing it would… erm… have been” Alexa said firmly. Anita sighed. “Thank God. It would not have been awful; it would have been a disaster. ‘Pregnant for a gay’… Ewww” she sighed again. “I just wonder what would happen to ‘Tel Communications’ now that Michael has decided to make this stupidity public. Pardon my language, he might be my boss but I hate gay guys” she glanced around to be sure no staff had heard her. Alexa managed a fake smile. Anita suddenly grabbed Alexa’s hands. “It is going to be fine. I know you love him but you would get over him. I am here for you” she smiled. “I think we would be good friends” Alexa smiled faintly, “I think so too” ********** ********** Belina had called Alexa several times all to no avail until finally, Alexander’s message popped up. She read it and instantly relayed the message to a very worried Richard. He sighed and also tried to call Alexander again but it did not go through. He finally gave up and went inside the room to get his jacket. Belina followed him and helped him into his suit jacket. “That girl would be the death of me”, Richard said in exasperation as Belina ran her palms down his chest, he smiled again. “Why can’t she be like me?’” he asked with a forceful frown; “she took her stubbornness and unpredictability from you”. Belina frowned and folded her arms across her chest. “But I won’t trade either of you for all the meek and predictable women in the world”, Richard quickly rectified but Belina still didn’t smile. “When she is sweet, you claim her but when she upsets you, you push the bad habit on me right?” Belina murmured. “Oh heart, I was just pulling a stunt, besides, you are stubborn”. He pulled her against him even though she struggled. “Well, you can’t change me now, can you?” “Oh, honey, I can’t even think of changing you, where would I find the woman I fell in love with if I change you?” Belina smiled, “you are stuck with us then, two stubborn women; just as I am stuck with overbearing men”. Richard frowned and Belina stuck out her tongue at him. She quickly jumped out of his front before he conceived a very tempting punishment. “You have patients waiting for you Mr. Branson”. The door bell rang and Belina was a bit surprised. She was not expecting anyone. If it were Alexa, she wouldn’t press the bell. Richard was a bit curious but he picked up some things so that they could both check the visitors. They didn’t have to get there though. “Mummy B” Belina’s eyes widened as she heard that. Only one person called her that. Richard grinned as he dropped some files and hurried out. “Pat” Belina gasped as she rushed outside. Immediately she saw her niece, she beamed in delight. Patricia squealed as she hurried to Belina. “Oh my love”, Belina wrapped her arms around her niece. “My God, you have grown so big”, she exclaimed. Prisca and Tony grinned as they watched their daughter move from Belina to Richard. “We decided to surprise you. She came back about an hour ago but would not rest until she saw you”. Tony explained. “She sure looks like the star that she is” Richard said with pride, even though he was not her biological father. “I have missed you mummy and daddy B” Pat said grinning. “Turn around Pat, let me see you” Belina said and Patricia jumped around like a little kid. She always felt like a little girl around Belina and the ever pampering Richard Branson. Everyone laughed at her childish displays. “Where is that naughty girl” Pat asked impatiently. She couldn’t wait to see her cousin. “Oh, Alexa should be home soon, she rushed off to do some things”. Belina said, still doubting the message she had received from Alexander. Whatever the truth was, Belina had a feeling that she would not like it at all. ********** ********** Alexa left the very enclosed pharmacy shop and stood on the road waiting for a cab. She had nearly made her discomfort obvious as she hurriedly tried to end her conversation with Anita. The mention of pregnancy had almost choked the life out of her as Alexa hadn’t even considered the possibility. The thought of being pregnant had slapped her and nearly driven her crazy as she sought a small and hidden pharmacy to buy the pregnancy test sticks. After buying two, she had left the place with her life sentence carefully sitting in her bag. Now that she thought of it, she could not remember seeing her period since she had slept with Michael. ‘Oh God’ Alexa blanched as she stood poised by the road side. This was a total disaster! Several cabs passed her by but she saw none as her pale form stood motionless as she stared at her shattered life. She thought of the disgrace, the disappointments her parents would have in her, the shame that would be accrued to the family… No! it can’t be happening. One man could not destroy her life so much. She just could not be pregnant. She flagged down a cab immediately she saw one and pushed her frozen form into it. “Richbel Estate” she managed to say and the cab driver swung into the road. Her brain was in turmoil all through the drive and the driver had to tap her to tell her that they were already at the entrance of the estate. She needed to walk so she asked him not to enter. She paid him and made her way into the estate. She unconsciously moved her mouth to greet the security men as she walked like a robot into the estate. All she prayed for was that her dad had gone to the hospital and that her mum had already gone to her supermarket store. She did not want any lectures now; all she needed was some heavenly silence and a warm bed. As she drew near the entrance, she acknowledged that wished were not horses. The voices of her parents echoed, combined with the distinctive voices of Aunt Prisca and Uncle Tony, as she always called them. When Alexander heard a voice, she froze with a frown. It can’t be. She instantly opened the door and her eyes widened. Patricia raised her eyes and shrieked, jumped up and ran to her cousin. Even though Patricia was three years older than Alexander, no one could notice because they both were inseparable. Patricia ran and enfolded a frozen and wide-eyed Alexa in a tight hug.
EPISODE 4 “What do you mean by ‘downslide in patronage’ woman” one of the shareholders, Mr. Dare, asked in annoyance. “Who are you by the way?” Felicia did not flinch one bit; she just stared at him like he had just asked her the name of her favorite movie. “I am Felicia Adams, my business with Tel Communications is personal and I must say that I am well acquainted with your boss” she said with a sweet little smile on her face. “So, how do you know about problems in our company when we don’t even know a thing about it?” Mr. Robert asked, looking to be more interested in the speaker’s body than her words. “You don’t know? Well, the problem is not related to the company specifically but with the arrowhead.” “Michael? What about Michael?” Yes! Felicia had been expecting John Coker to talk ever since. He was the only known cousin to Michael and the late Mr. Coker had made sure that he was in the company. Apart from Michael, who had fifty percent share in Tel Communications, being the inherent owner of the company, John Coker had twenty six percent. John Coker had always seen Michael as his rival and always looked for a way to outshine him so Felicia was banking on convincing John using the power of words. “I am guessing that everyone in this room hadn’t been on social media for a while.” Felicia stated with her eyes forging the look of extreme surprise. She had prepared for something like this. She signaled to Stella and she operated the laptop on the table. Everyone watched as Stella opened Michael’s Facebook profile and half-nude pictures popped up. Nearly everyone gasped as they stared unbelievably. The pictures were swarming with comments and some that were viewed were exceedingly awful. So many ladies were giving phone numbers out and stunningly, guys were dropping numbers as well. The shock they all got was so extreme when they saw Michael on a gay site. “There you have it people; Michael Coker is gay” she dropped the bomb slowly. The room fell into stunned silence. “You have all invested in the company, and I am sure you all want to expand financially instead of go bankrupt, so I thought of this: Tel Communications need to be led by someone different. Someone who has a good leading legacy and who is still a Coker. Someone who would not brandish nude photos on net or gay sites” she allowed that sink in. “Mr. John Coker” she stared pointedly at Michael’s cousin. “Wouldn’t it be of great benefit if you took over Tel Communications?” John’s eyes widened fractionally and Felicia watched as his eyes went from surprise to thoughtful. “Michael has been there for so long” Felicia pressed. “I am sure everyone here wants to put their money into something more secure” “Even at that, we can’t just take over, Michael has fifty percent shares, and we are just forty five percent here. Even if we get the last share holder to follow our plan, we still won’t have an edge over Michael” John Coker murmured thoughtfully, liking the idea of taking over the company. “We could make him sell part of his shares, preferably to one of us here” Felicia offered. Everyone seemed to assimilate that. “But, what is your gain in all these?” Mr. Roberts asked suspiciously. “Well, let’s just say ‘Payback’. Michael destroyed my life; he is just going to get what he bargained for” Even as Felicia said the words, her eyes clouded with dark recollection and anger. “Even at that, what of the last shareholder? She might not agree” “Who is she?” Felicia asked. Only John knew. “Alexander Branson. She is definitely not going to accept this. She is Michael’s girlfriend.” Felicia smiled widely and picked up her wine. “She would” ********** ********** “Oh sweetheart, why don’t you check on Alexander?” Richard said with a worried look. “She has been up in her room since she arrived yesterday and I just feel something is wrong with her, she ought to have breakfast with us” Belina had noticed this too. She had been to Alexander’s room to see her this morning but she was still asleep then. Belina assumed that Alexa was extremely tired. She went to Alexa’s room with a thousand questions in her head, knocked and opened the door. “Alexa” Belina called. Alexa was not inside the room. A frown crept up Belina’s face as she checked the bathroom but found it empty also. “Alexander” Belina called louder then left the room, shouting Alexander as she went. Immediately she arrived the sitting room, Richard was on his feet. “I can’t find her.” Richard’s face creased in worry as he looked round the wide sitting room. He did not want to believe that rapture had occurred and they had been left behind. “She might be outside” he said hopefully. Both of them knew distinctively that they hadn’t seen Alexander leave her room but they went to check nonetheless. ********** ********** Alexa alighted from the cab, extracted some money and paid the driver. She turned on her heels and walked like a soldier on mission into the massive building which stood. She was greeted by security guards with huge smiles but she was not her usual self so she had no money to spread around. Getting out of the house was as difficult as passing through the needle’s eye but she had managed. She could not face her parents after finding out that the man she loved was actually gay. Alexander had spent so many valuable minutes praying that this nightmare would go away. She had refreshed her web, feeling that the internet must be up to some of its tricks but after staring over and over again, the truth had slapped her with the force of a speeding plane. She wasn’t sure who she was angrier at; Michael or herself. She entered the elevator which was going up with some people and heaved a huge sigh. As the elevator moved, it stopped continuously on each floor for people to get off. It became increasingly annoying because none of them seemed to be experiencing the tension and urgency she was feeling. Using the time, she quickly typed a message to her mum, informing her that she had to quickly see a friend of hers who would be out of the country this morning. She was not ready to reveal this ugly truth to her mum. Finally, the elevator chimed on the last floor and she stumbled out of it. She walked knowingly towards Michael’s office without even sparing the people around a glance. Soon enough, she got to Michael’s adjoining office and met with Michael’s secretary. She did not even pause. “How may I help you ma’am?” the lady asked but Alexa was past caring. “You can’t just walk in” the lady stood up and rushed after her. “Of course I can, and I will” Alexa responded steadily. She had been to Michael’s office countless number of times but Michael hadn’t made an exemption for her where protocol was concerned. She was treated like one of their customers by his staff instead of being treated like the boss’ woman. Alexa’s fast legs got to the door ahead of the secretary and she jerked it open without even a courteous knock. On entering, Michael and Tunji jerked, turning their heads towards her. They looked extremely surprised to see her and Alexa wondered why. “I tried to stop her, she would not listen to me” the secretary murmured frightfully. Michael waved her away and stood up. He was not on his seat but was seated on the couch with Tunji, and Alexa found herself wandering what they must have been doing. She saw glasses of drinks beside the chair, on the small tabletops but she did not care about that. “Alexa” Michael ground out. “What a surprise” he said standing up. “Is everything all right?” He actually looked worried as he stared at her. All her annoyance did not stop Alexa from noticing his pale blue shirt which was tucked into black pants. His equally black shoes shone and sparkled like someone had spent hours sinking polish into the glossy shoes. Michael’s shirt was not totally buttoned as usual, and his chest was slightly in view. He almost never used a tie so Alexander was not surprised. “Lexy” Tunji called playfully. “You scared me, are we at war?” He asked jokingly. Why did he look so innocent? “It depends” she said with her eyes fixed on Michael as she talked. “Are you both in it together? Since he would need a partner in crime, probably you are the available butt” “What?” Tunji sounded so stunned at the insulting languages but still had no idea as to what was going on. Michael was equally looking at her with a look of thoughtful worry and surprise. Tunji stood up to leave and Alexa felt guilty because he most probably knew nothing about Michael’s activities but she was taking out her frustration on him. “I might come back to finish what we were planning when you sort this out” he told Michael and left. Alexander turned burning eyes at Michael and his silence was beginning to annoy her exceedingly. Must he always look calm in the face of a storm? “When were you going to tell me?” Michael frowned. “Tell you what?” “Don’t you dare me Michael. God!” she swallowed and moved away from Michael. “I am a fool; a stupid and foolish miserable little idiot. How could I not have read the writings on the wall?” Michael now looked totally confused and Alexa was at least glad that Michael was not composed and relaxed in the face of her fury. “What is going on Alexander?” “You know what is going on” she walked up to him and poked him in the chest. “Of course you do” Her voice was now very high and Michael was glad that his office was soundproofed. “You are just going to pretend right? That is what you have been doing all this while; pretend that I am special, pretend that you want me” “Of course I do” Michael ground out. “Get to the point now” he growled. “Shut up Michael, you don’t want me; maybe you want Tunji or Eric or one of those blasted friends of yours” she yelled. Michael stilled and frowned deeply. “What does that mean?” “You are gay” she cried. Silence reigned and for some seconds, Michael looked like a sculptured statue as he gazed at her like she had just declared that he had an invisible horn. Alexa laughed painfully. “Did you think I would never find out? Well you weren’t hiding it, at least not from the world. If you could make it public on social Medias, then you are definitely proud of your status.” Tears welled up in Alexander’s eyes as the pain slipped in like the edge of a sharp knife. “What status are you talking about” Michael got back his power of speech and for the first time, Michael looked totally stunned. “I don’t understand the crap you are spilling from your mouth” Michael looked furious. “Oh, I am spilling crap right?” Alexa took out her tab and swallowed heavily as she opened Michael’s Facebook profile which she hadn’t been able to stop revisiting since yesterday. She stopped her eyes from looking too long at the pictures as tears of anger and regret tried to push itself to the surface. She stretched the tab and Michael took it instantly but immediately he took it, he froze. Alexander had never seen Michael in so much shock. Michael was a perfect actor, she thought in annoyance. “That is the crap I am spilling. Damn it, you are even on gay.com.” she wailed. “Oh God” she sank into one of the chairs because her legs could not carry her anymore. Michael could not even state which emotion was going through his veins. Shock was the first thing he felt, then shock again, then anger, then fury, then much more shock. “I’ll be damned if I know a thing about these blasted pictures here.” He said with so much anger as he glared at pictures of himself. “This is definitely not me, I mean, I have never taken a shirtless picture before, not to mention taking photos of myself in briefs. This is ridiculous, and I am definitely not gay. What the hell made you believe I was? We have been in bed together Alexa” He was pacing now and anger oozed out of his pores. Alexa’s laughter sounded weird. “Yes, we have been in bed together once Michael; one miserable time. My life is a disaster” she declared and shook her head in agony. “Of all the things I thought would happen to me, I never thought I would lose my virginity to a gay lover. We are done Michael” she stood up and snatched her Tab from his hands. “All of this is ridiculous Alexa, for God’s sake” he yelled in frustration. Tears spilled out of her eyes. “You are right, it is. I hate you Michael” she turned and stormed out. Michael stared at the door as it slammed shut, he made no move to pursue Alexander though, he needed some time to process and assimilate what he had just heard. Alexa tried not to look ridiculous as she went, trying desperately to put her emotions in check. She passed the wide-eyed secretary as she made her way out of Michael’s office but did not even spare her a glance. She wanted to cry and she eyed the elevator ahead, hoping she would not have any company when she entered it. Anita, Michael’s assistant bumped into her as she made her way to the elevator and she was forced to stop. Alexander had accused Anita severally of having an affair with Michael but now, she was forced to face the reality that she had been wrong. How much better would it have been if she had been right? She would have preferred a case of infidelity to the one she was faced with currently. “Miss Branson” Anita gasped out. “Are you all right?” The concerned tone almost made Alexa burst into tears instantly. Anita was still being nice to her even after numerous accusations. Anita looked troubled as she stared at Alexander. “Why don’t you have coffee with me at the cafeteria on the ground floor?” Anita offered again. Alexa just nodded and followed Anita; she really needed a listening ear now, especially one who worked for Michael. ********** ********** Felicia smiled thoughtfully as she came down from her car and walked to the door. “Second mission accomplished, third mission loading” she murmured.
EPISODE 3 “Oh no!” Alexa gasped in complete horror. She enlarged the picture to be sure she was not mistaking someone else for Michael, but it could not be denied. It was truly Michael. She refreshed the site over and over again but nothing changed. She just stared in complete mortification as her world shattered around her. Of all the things that Michael could be, who could imagine that he was gay. Damn! He did not even look it, neither did he act it. Michael had too many ladies swarming all over him, due to his irresistible outlook that Alexa had felt honoured and lucky that of all the women, she had caught his fancy. And to think that she thought he was sleeping with that Anita in his office! Alexa started pacing her room. Well, of course he hadn’t been sleeping with Anita or other women, Alexander thought bitterly. The only woman that Michael had been able to sleep with was his dumb virgin girlfriend, who was dumb enough to surrender her virginity on a platter of gold to a gay. Tears had sprung to her eyes unknowingly as she stared with rounded eyeballs at pictures of her man which was in public view. If only she knew that he was not looking at women but instead, was stuck with the ass of his fellow men, she would not have sacrificed the most precious thing in her life. That day had been the most magical day in her life because, never had she imagined that she could feel what she felt in Michael’s arms. Even then with her lack of experience, she was perfectly aware of how hard Michael fought for control. He had been exceedingly gentle, being her first time but he had to do that with a lot of restraint which made Alexander to respect him more. After the act, he had asked her countlessly if she was alright or hurt. But here, Alexander watched in stupefied horror as the most amazing day of her life turned to her worst nightmare. And it was all her fault! He had argued with her that day, almost refused to make love to her but she had stupidly behaved like a stupid slut, stripping before him until he had no choice but to give in. If only she had followed the footsteps of her mum… Michael had said that he was with his friends, the last time she called him; were they also gay? She wondered. And to think that she had liked them instantly… She never heard the slow approach of footsteps which approached her door but the knock that followed was exceptionally loud. Richard called out her name immediately after the knock as he waited. Alexa tried to swallow her panic. “Yes dad” she answered far too loudly and shakily. There was a slight pause. “Can I come in?” he asked. “Um… Dad, I am not dressed yet” she lied. “I was busy doing some things. I would put on something and erm… come to the sitting room” she rushed. There was another pause. Alexander wished that her dad didn’t know her so well. “Ok. I am waiting” he said and she heard his retreat. “SHIT!” she swore. ********** ********** Felicia took out her hair bond and held up her light brown hair, letting the tresses fall freely in a tail. Felicia was one of those people who had narrowly escaped the albino state. She did not look the way she looked about five years ago due to the surgery she had been forced to go through but she was still pale. Her skin was very fair and pale, almost red under the sun and her light brown hair complemented her skin perfectly. She was more of a conventional beauty queen which was not commonly seen on a daily basis in Nigeria. Although she was obviously not an albino, Felicia was happy with her pale skin, or she was before she went under the knives. Her lips were slightly darker though, due to cigarettes which she had become accustomed to over the years. Felicia was dressed in a V-necked multicolored top which left just a hint of cleavage. It hugged her figure perfectly and was matched with a white short which was just half way through her laps. Her feet were graced by high heeled boots, giving her a sexy and also a rugged look. When Felicia was done dressing, she walked back into the sitting room and picked up her leftover glass of wine from the center table. After filling her mouth with the chilled wine, she picked up her phone and pressed 5 on her keypad panel. After checking the time to confirm if it was actually 2 o’clock, she put the phone against her ear. Immediately the phone was picked, she wasted no time with pleasantries. “Is everyone seated?” she asked instantly. She nodded satisfactorily when she got her response. “Ok, I am on my way”. She hung up, took one final drink from her cup and set it back on the table. She stretched out two slim manicured fingers and picked up her car keys from the table. After shaking the keys playfully in her hand, she straightened her top and walked out of the house slowly. ********** ********** Patricia sat in the waiting room at the airport waiting for her mum to arrive. It felt good to be home. She had been in Canada for way too long and she had actually started wondering what Nigeria would look like when she got back. Thinking about it, Three years was not an awfully long time to be away from one’s country but considering all that had happened within the space of three years, it sure felt like an eternity. Living in Canada hadn’t been as sonorous as Patricia first thought it would be. Of course, she had travelled out of Nigeria on countless occasions, with and without her parents but when she had been asked by her company to be part of those starting the new branch at Canada, she had been too happy to oblige. Tellers had grown to become one of the largest selling newspaper in Nigeria. Not only were they using the normal newspaper, but they also used the internet for those who had come to see newspaper as old-fashioned. What made Tellers the most sought after paper was the mere fact that they always carried juicy gossips about people – celebrities. Several journalists worked for Tellers but Patricia had come to earn her place as a very important part of Tellers. Her exceptional ability to bring news and gossips about famous people, coupled with the fact that most of her suspicions ended up being true had been what made the company to choose her to go Canada in order to give the branch a grand start. The last three years had been phenomenal but she had asked for a transfer back to Nigeria. Patricia had become attached to her job that she practically lived and breathed it. It was her passion. “Patricia?” Patricia’s head jerked to the side as she heard the familiar voice. Her eyes took in her mum and she was out of her seat instantly. Prisca looked just as stunning as she was over three years ago. Her dad had undoubtedly been taking good care of his dearest wife. “Mum” she yelled and ran into her mum’s waiting hands. “Oh mum” “Pat baby” Prisca sounded shaken. “I have missed you terribly” Prisca pulled her daughter back to inspect her. “Oh my God! You have changed a lot” she gasped out. “You are taller than me now” Patricia laughed. “Oh mum, you have not changed a bit, in fact, you are more beautiful. What has daddy been giving to you that you refused to age, uhn?” Prisca laughed. “The same thing he has been giving me for more than twenty six years”. A fake cough separated the two gleeful women and Patricia gasped when she saw her dad. Handsome as ever, Tony’s eyes widened as he stared at the woman who had rocked Canada, who just happened to be his beloved daughter. “Dad” Prisca walked hurriedly into her father’s arms. Being in her father’s arms felt exceedingly good, and Patricia was instantly filled with immense joy. If there was one man she could always respect, it was her father. The saying that birds of a feather flock was not just a mild saying, Patricia noted, thinking of Mr Richard and his wife who happened to be her aunt. “Oh princess” Tony murmured. “Is this my dearest journalist?” Pat grinned and squared her shoulders. “That’s your daughter dad” They stayed there talking endlessly until Tony decided that they should start heading home. She asked of her baby sister, Tina as they walked off, lamenting on how much she had missed her. ********** ********** Felicia arrived at Elites Hotel and she took her time to pack well and alight without any sense of urgency. After she had securely closed the door, she checked her reflection in the car and smiled internally as she walked away from the car. When she was about entering the hotel, she pressed the botton on her key and the car gave a resounding beep. She had everyone’s attention as she walked into the hotel but she did not seem to notice as she carried an air of indifference. She saw the receptionist quickly shuffle through her drawer as she drew near and immediately Felicia got to the desk, a key was passed to her. The receptionist smiled expectantly and Felicia pulled out some Naira notes and placed them before the lady with a smile. She was full of thanks as she watched Felicia walk away without a word. Felicia got to the door qith the key number on it and inserted the key into the keyhole. With a small twist, the door fell open and she instantly entered into a conference-like setting. A long table extended with ten chairs; one at each head and four on either sides. She saw five men in the room already seated and a lady walked about. They had been arguing when she entered, all having an expected look of confusion on their faces. The lady quickly walked up to her. “You are welcome my lady, they are all confused and angry. It has been hard holding them back” Stella confided. Felicia nodded and walked towards the head of the table, effectively drawing a tense silence. Only the clicks of her heels shattered the deafening silence but she seemed far too comfortable to notice the strain in the room. After she was seated, she crossed her legs before her and picked up the glass of wine which Stella had hurriedly filled for her. Everyone’s attention was diverted to her smooth legs as she took a long sip from her drink. She dropped the cup on the table and relaxed her back fully on the backrest of the chair. She rested her arms on the armrests of the chair and linked her fingers. “I am sure you are all confused as to why you are here” she spoke for the first time, destroying the vague thought in the minds of some of them who were thinking that she was dumb. “You are all shareholders in Tel Communications” she stated matter-of-factly. After the silence had fully gone deep, she continued. “I have noticed a sharp downslide in the productivity and patronage of the powerful network and I am here to make a proposition”. The men looked at one another with more confusion displayed on their faces and she waited for a question to be thrown at her. She had thought of every possible question and had ready answers to all. No one catches Felicia unawares.
“Tolani, I hope Alexander’s room is prepared?” Richard questioned the maid earnestly. The maid responded in the affirmative and Richard proceeded to ask questions about food and every tiny detail. Belina sat down on the couch, looking at Richard with a frown until he finally met her eyes. The maid left and they were alone. “Is it necessary to go through all the stress?” Belina asked. “Of course. She is my daughter and should feel comfortable in her own father’s house” Richard responded, coming to sit beside Belina. “You pamper her too much honey” Belina started the speech she had given over and over again. “She is a woman Richy, no matter how rich we are, she has to be shown some level of discipline” “I do confront her when she is wrong Bell” Richard defended. Belina almost snorted. “That happens once in a year. You handle Roland with a tough hand, why are you not doing the same with Alexander? She wants to have her way all the time, and it is a bad thing”. “Oh heart, I concur that her leaving the house was a wrong idea, I never should have supported her, but baby, we can’t have two strong hands handling her. You are already tough on her, besides, you are not that hard on Roland” He raised a brow. “You know that I am not really the disciplinary type. I became exceptionally hard on Alexa because you treat her like a doll” Richard smiled widely and pulled Belina till her head was on his laps. She frowned. “You surely are not going to flirt your way out of this Richard Branson” Richard’s smile widened. “Oh, I am up to the challenge Bell” he said and started tickling her. Belina started giggling uncontrollably. “Stop it” she gasped out as she giggled but Richard only increased and she tried to stand up but he restricted her. Her moving about on his laps was affecting Richard too as his own wide grin became strained. He bent his head and covered his wife’s giggling mouth, effectively silencing her, and started kissing her playfully. Even in her late forties, she actually looked more beautiful. Considering just how beautiful she was before, Richard had thought that her beauty would reduce with age but her beauty actually increased, and the desire and fire he always felt with her was obviously still burning at the fullest. The playful kisses were over and desire took over as Richard kissed Belina deeply. Belina’s small hand went to circle his head, pulling him closer. “Get a room” Richard’s mouth left Belina’s in a hurry, leaving her hanging. She hadn’t heard the words, and was however curious as to why the igniting kiss should be suddenly cut off. She did not have time to brood though because she instantly saw what had Richard’s attention. “Alexander” Richard said with a smile as Alexander moved forward. Belina took her head from his laps, standing up on her feet. Richard was up instantly. The typical Alexander dropped all her bags and ran into her father’s hand. “Dad” she moaned softly. “I have missed you very much” Richard kissed the top of her head which was on his chest. His heart swelled with pride. How lucky can a man be to have such beautiful women? “Oh baby, daddy missed you too” Richard said and pulled her back to examine her. He frowned. “You have lost weight” Belina shook her head. Richard was such a doctor in everything he did. “Don’t I deserve a hug too?” Belina asked with a fake frown. “Awww… Mummy is jealous” Richard said and Alexander grinned. Belina folded her arms across her chest. “Go and make it right before we both get punished”. He winked. Alexander turned to Belina with that innocent and winning smile that could soften the heart of an angry lion. “Mummy mummy” she cooed teasingly. “I surely have missed you too much, possibly much more than I missed dad” Richard frowned as a slow smile crept up Belina’s face. “Come here honey” Alexa jumped into her mother’s hands for a hug. Richard watched the two women in his life with extreme happiness. He was obviously the luckiest man alive. “How are you baby?” “I am fine mum” Alexa responded as she pulled away from her mum. “When would the both of you stop making out on the couch? Aren’t you too old for that?” “Oh sweetheart, I know she is your mother but she is my wife and I bet she is far more beautiful than most of the small girls floating around these days. Besides, she does not look a day older than thirty” Alexa would have argued with her dad if it weren’t obviously true. She had been argued with on countless occasions whenever she told people that Belina was her mother. Not everyone knew them via the social Medias which never stopped carrying gossips about their private lives but even Alexa had found it hard to believe that Belina had given birth to her and Roland. “Tolani” Richard called and the maid appeared shortly. She was obviously at the other part of the house and Alexa’s arrival must have skipped her too. She greeted Alexa with open excitement and, following Richard’s instructions, carried Alexa’s bags into the room. “Sweetheart, why don’t you go to your room, freshen up and relax? When you get back, we can discuss your weight loss” Nothing escaped her dad’s notice, Alexa thought sadly. It came with his being a doctor. Alexander was not sure if she should be happy about that virtue or be sad because she was not ready to open up about her problems with Michael. When she saw the intense look on Belina’s face, she was sure that she was in for it because if nothing escaped her dad, it was even harder to hide a thing from her mum. She had those eyes which could read a man’s soul with just one glance. Alexa smiled and quickly vanished to her room before a therapy session commenced. ********** ********** “This your network is getting on my nerves o” Eric said suddenly as he faced Michael with a frown. Michael sighed as he braced himself to defend ‘Tel’. When his father had died, he had passed on the company to Michael over two years ago and since then; the company had gone up, far above its competitors. “What happened this time?” Michael queried. “My five hundred Naira airtime has vanished into thin air; this is corruption” he lamented. Tunji laughed. “See this one o, since you have been doing lovey dovey on the phone with your woman, did you forget that it is not midnight call?” “God bless you T.J” Michael chipped in with a grin. If you want your airtime to last long, minimize your speeches, besides, why are you lamenting over five hundred Naira credit, I thought you were richer than that” Michael stated with a lazy grin. He was goading Eric who never stopped talking about the little wealth he had, claiming to be the richest man in the universe. “Well, being rich does not mean that you spend everything you have over the phone. You spend less if you want to stay rich” “Hmmm” Tunji and Michael grunted. Michael’s phone rang and he picked it after looking at it for some seconds. “Alexa” he murmured immediately he picked up. “I know you must be pissed off baby, I am sorry, I should have called… Are you settled now… I am with the guys now… Alright dear, I would call you later; just take some time out to rest… Bye baby” he hung up and noticed for the first time that his friends had their eyes on him. “Tell us man, how is she?” Eric mouthed. “How is who?” he asked, relaxing fully on the chair. “What do you mean ‘who’? Alexander of course” Eric said again. Tunji was diplomatically silent. Michael gazed from one man to the other. “Since when did you start caring about how she is faring?” Eric snorted. “I don’t care about that dummy. If she is half as good as she looks, she would be exceptional in bed” Tunji coughed as Michael’s eyes shot up instantly. “I would punch the living daylight out of your guts if you dare talk about my woman in such a mundane manner” “You don’t have to be defensive Mike, we were just joking” Tunji put in to douse the tension. “That was an expensive joke. If you have imaginations in your filthy minds, you better wipe it out right now” he growled. Eric raised his hands. “Woah, if you are this possessive, you should treat her much more than you are doing now” “And what does that mean?” Michael was becoming increasingly angry. “You just talked with her the way you would normally talk to Anita or one of your staff” Tunji put in, also pissed off at Michael. “I don’t see the spark in you when you are with Alexander” Michael swallowed as he looked at both men in anger. He was not sure which one of them he was actually angry at. Maybe it was not even any of them. ’10.9.8.7…’ he started his calming exercise mentally. When he was calm enough to talk normally, he stood up. “Just mind your own damn business”, with that, he walked out to stand at the lawn. ********** ********** Alexander came out of the bathroom feeling refreshed and calm. She still could not get the image of her loving parents out of her head. The two were so much in love and wasted no time in telling and showing each other how they both felt. How many times had she wished that Michael was like her father? She had lost count. How many times had she longed to share with Michael what her parents shared? She exhaled and sat on the bed. She heard a knock and asked the person to come in, knowing that it could only be Tolani. Her mum would knock and enter instantly. Her dad would knock and call out her name if he were the one. “Ma, should I serve your food now?” Tolani asked. Alexander smiled. “No. I need to do some things before I eat, I am not that hungry. I would serve myself when I am done” “Ok ma” with that, she turned to leave. “Oh yes!” Alexa gasped out as an afterthought and Tolani turned. “Do you see that green travelling bag?” Tolani nodded. “Take it, it is for you” Tolani’s eyes widened. “Me?” Alexander nodded with a smile. “Aaahhh, thank you ma, God bless you and your works. Thank you ma” “Ok, stop thanking me. Why are you kneeling? Please stand up. You deserve much more”. Tolani stood up like the enthusiastic nineteen years old that she was and said her thanks again, carrying the heavy bag along with her as she left. Putting smiles on people’s faces had remained the only thing that made her happy lately. She put on the short gown she had put on the bed and picked up her Tab. She hadn’t been on Facebook for days; lately, all she did on net was whatsapp, ping and tweet. She wanted to know what was going on in other people’s lives. She had opened a facebook account which was only known to few people because her former account was already too flooded, being the public figure that she was, due to her parents’ popularity. When her account loaded, she went to check the first thing that always came first to her – her notifications. When she checked, she noticed that Michael had posted some things on his old Facebook wall. This was strange because the account was not the one he currently used. He had told her that he no longer used that account. Even the one he used was almost always empty. Just like her, the initial account he used had exceeded the 5000 friends’ limit and he had opened another, then another. But… she stopped thinking and opened the profile. She was stunned by the first things that she saw. First was a shirtless Michael, looking exceedingly hot, like one of those sex gods that were often seen on magazines. She swallowed a rising panic and scrolled down, seeing several pictures which were nude like the former one. He even saw other nude guys. Just when she was about to go to the pictures to fully check his uploaded pictures, she saw a link which Michael had posted. She swallowed and clicked the link. The link opened up a site which made her eyes pop. “Gay.com?” she gasped out in horror. She hadn’t seen the worst because as she scrolled, she saw the picture of her very own Michael.