NADIA: It all started with the love for food. And just as a meal, it goes sour when not preserved. Listen, my initial mission was to learn how to cook; but as time rolled by, my mission changed: “Wilson has to pay for all that he has done.”
"I had given my assistant my favorite gold wristwatch. It was a simple gift. He deserved it. God rest his soul. Although I left for a meeting, I went in a different car, and asked him to take charge and represent me in another meeting; I had two meetings to attend on that particular day. I heard the news minutes later. I knew immediately that someone was after my life. I never fathomed it could be my own brother," Mrs. Olutayo said.
“Three months back, I noticed I was being poisoned. My system changed and I discovered my cups had been soiled with lotus flower. I contacted my sisters, and we decided to make our enemies feel like they've succeeded."
"The best way to knock your enemy down is to make them believe they've succeeded. And when they let their guards down, you strike hard with a final blow," she added.
Joyce and I stood with our mouths agape. The storyline was quite interesting, and I was so glad I was called into this.
"What about Daniel?" I asked.
Mrs. Olutayo remained quiet for a while before she replied;
"Daniel has to believe that I am still dead. Until he puts up a fight, I won't reveal my identity to him; I won't stop Wilson either. This is Daniel's fight. He has to fight for his rights. I can't be there for him always. Someday, I would leave this earth. He has to man up!"
This was quite difficult to deal with. Wilson had succeeded in soiling Daniel's mind with venom against me. How do I get him to believe in himself? How do I get him to fight back?
DANIEL: Examinations started the following week. All eyes were on me. I couldn't face Brenda, I couldn't face anyone. I was so ashamed of myself. My glory had been stolen away from me. My pride had been shattered. I was reduced to nothing.
On the first day of the exams, I remained in my room, determined not to attend; but then, I received a text message on my phone. It was from Nadia;
"You wanna give up your exams too? When will you man up, Daniel?"
At first, it felt like an insult. An insult to my personality; but then, I remembered there was no personality to keep. Those words struck my heart. I didn't contemplate much. I got up and fitted into my jeans and Polo shirt.
I ignored all eyes, but I couldn't ignore the whispers.
"It's him; I heard he has been dethroned."
I could hear them say, all of them. I was giving up already. I was about to turn back when my eyes locked on Nadia. She appeared from nowhere.
"Hey! I'm here. I'm with you."
I received strength and moved on. Minutes later, I remembered she was actually a married woman. I stood up from where I sat and took another seat far away from her. I could tell she was hurt by my actions, but I didn't care.
NADIA: He stood up and left me. He avoided me like I was some plague. Damn him! He was hurting me. And yes, I needed him to be strong. But how can I when he keeps avoiding me?
I called him after the exams, but he bounced my calls. I sent him an SMS to meet up, he didn't show up.
We waited for our results with great anxiety. Brenda had been crowned new principal of the academy. She took over from her mother. They were gaining too much grounds.
"Until Daniel acts, I am doing nothing!"
Mrs. Olutayo reiterated when Joyce and I went to present our plights.
Seriously, for how long? We were looking grip already.
"Daniel, if you won't come over, I will come meet you in your room, and get both of us expelled!"
I texted him. Within minutes, he miraculously replied;
"I'm on my way coming!"
I leaped for joy and quickly pretended like I had received an alert on my phone, when I noticed my new dummy roommate had given me that suspicious stare.
I got to Mrs. Serena's apartment and waited. It was getting late. He wasn't showing up. “God please, bring him here,” I prayed earnestly.
It was getting dark. I was about to give it up when I heard a knock on the door. It was Daniel. Some strange feelings ran through my heart immediately. All my planned speech disappeared.
"What do you want?"
He asked hoarsely.
He was cold to me. So cold
"Daniel, I... Daniel there is still hope. You can still win back Kayode's kitchen."
I said, wondering the next few minutes if I had actually made some sense.
The way he stared at me made me realize that I had just said the right words at the wrong time.
"Is that why you called me here?"
He turned to go.
"Can you hear yourself, Nadia? Did you call me here to remind me of how I lost everything? Of how useless I've become? Huh!? You called me here to mock at me?"
He was beginning to sound harsh.
"Daniel, what if I tell you that there is still a way out?"
My spirit pinched me. I almost revealed what I was not supposed to let out.
"What are you talking about?" he asked.
"I mean, you have to believe there is a way."
"Okay. I'm out of here."
He turned to go again.
“Daniel, remember when you took me out, and when Wilson called? What did you tell me? You told me that I am strong, you made me believe in myself. You awoken my spirit. You gave strength to my emotions. That’s the Daniel I believe in. That Daniel is still in there. I need that Daniel back."
He was quiet. He turned his back on me so I couldn't tell if my words got to him.
"That was when I thought you were single."
Oh! I know the source of the problem now. His problem was me. I was the reason he gave up.
"Whatever Wilson said..."
He didn't let me land;
"Is true Nadia, isn't it?"
I paused. What do I tell him? Do I tell a lie? How do I paint this picture?
He scoffed in exasperation and turned to go.
"But Daniel, he tricked me. He faked the divorce papers. I can show you. I made a photocopy of it. He planned it all, just to tear us apart. Wilson planned it all."
I knew he believed me, but he wasn't convinced.
“Tear us apart? There is no us, Nadia!"
I was losing him. He was at the door already. He was going to open it. He was going to walk out on me. I had to do something. I had to say it.
I couldn't believe those three words would ever cross my lips again; those three words that broke my sacred rule; those three words that had brought me so much hurt.
"I love you!"
DANIEL: My hands got stuck. I could neither open the door nor get my hands off it. I've heard those three words from numerous girls; those words actually meant nothing to me. Now, they sounded so heavy in my ears.
I turned to look at her. I could tell that she had passed through a lot just to mutter those words.
"You said what?"
I needed to be sure.
"I said I love you, Daniel. If you want to give up on me, if you want to give up this fight, I won't stop you. Just know I love you, and I wish you would at least fight for me. I wish you could take me away from Wilson's grip. I wish you could stand for me. I wish you could stand against Wilson, the man who wants to steal me away from you."
Her words drove my spirit to a different level. I was charged up. I suddenly realized that I had given up everything to Wilson without putting up a fight. I realized I had given Nadia to him just as he requested. I suddenly realized that I could kill anyone who tries to hurt her. I suddenly realized that I would fight till my last breath to have her.
I didn't wait to hear more. I covered the distance between us; breathless, yet panting. Hormones arose, passion swelled. We were breathless, our hearts pounding so hard that we could hear it.
NADIA: He was reaching for it, for my lips. My heart was throbbing. My legs were shaking. It had never being like this with Wilson. What I felt at that moment was real. When he breathed on my nose, down to my lips, letting his warm breath caress them as I yearned eagerly to touch his; I couldn't take it, I couldn't wait. I wrapped my hands around his neck and drew closer to meet his lips.
I shivered to my spine. My legs grew weak beneath me. He had to support with his arms when my legs couldn't carry me. My whole world was spinning. He was playing with my lips, and oh, I didn’t want him to stop.
"I'll fight for you baby. I will, to the ends of the earth. I will fight for my right. I will protect you."
He muttered in his hasty breath. It caressed me somehow that I forgot to celebrate the success of my mission and switched back to his lips. It was suddenly an addiction, brushing against them, exploring, pushing farther and farther to sooth his hair and allow a moan escape through my mouth, until those old women had to interrupt.
DANIEL: My eyes were not seeing double, or were they? It was my mother and Serena, clapping and cheering
My mother? My dead mother? What was going on? She spoke up;
"Well done son, Well done! Now get your armor ready, and let's travel this journey back to your kingdom. I am certain you will enjoy the ride."
Continued on next page...
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