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By Adeola Nissi

Kelvin rubbed his hand against his tired eyes, lying on his back. He had been in this position ever since he left Amara’s houses the previous night. Everything Amara had said continued to run around his head, throwing him into a completely restless state, he had ended up staring at his plain white ceiling until the rays of sun replaced the complete darkness of the night. Kelvin could not even begin to determine what exactly troubled him most, he was disturbed on several levels that he couldn’t even begin to analyze them.

Lisa’s threat to Amara didn’t occupy him much because he had instantly made some calls to that effect immediately he left Amara’s place, and knowing fully well that Lisa would be captured soon, he did not dwell much on her. Kelvin sighed again and closed his eyes for a few seconds. But if that was the only thing he was worried about, he definitely would have slept. There was the Alex issue to keep him wide awake. Kelvin sighed again as he opened his eyes and pushed himself out of bed, wincing slightly as his body squealed in protest. He couldn’t believe Alex had shown up again. Wouldn’t he just leave Amara alone? It almost felt like Alex was so set on making Amara’s life unbearable. Well, he would have to go through me, he thought, gritting his teeth the same way he had been doing throughout the night.

‘…he insinuated that we are not siblings…’

Kelvin rubbed his face as he made for the bathroom to wash his pale face. Amara’s words had danced around his brain throughout the night. He still could not wrap his head around this particular information; it seemed to be the most confusing thing so far. That cannot be! They definitely are siblings! Kelvin glared grim-faced at his reflection in the mirror. Mrs. Bello had confessed herself right? She couldn’t have known that Alex and Amara weren’t siblings but kept it hidden, could she? And what if they are? Kelvin almost laughed at his own misery at that. If they are not really siblings, then Alex would take advantage of the situation and try to get Amara back and knowing Alex, being married would definitely not stop him. He couldn’t even say categorically that Amara had gotten over Alex; he is her first love after all. And where did that leave him? In her black books of course, his brain screamed at him. He had no right to even begin to wish otherwise. He should be glad now that Amara had started entertaining another man in her life; he should start getting used to her being with another man. He definitely should not have spent the entire night wondering who the man was. He shouldn’t have spent the night thinking of how to make sure Amara went on dates with only him. But he was stupid enough to entertain hopes, that somehow Amara would be able to love him and overlook his sins. He swallowed hard and closed his eyes painfully. Only stupidity could even make him entertain such high hopes, because he knew that if he were in Amara’s shoes, forgiveness would totally be out of the question.

Kelvin’s head pounded with exhaustion and too much thinking as he entered the room again. His phone rang and he reluctantly picked it up. “Hey” he called.

“Where are you man?”

Kelvin sighed as the voice of his second in command rang in his ears, making his head ache. “Home” Kelvin answered Adeolu shortly.

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“Home? Did you forget the meeting with Matins and sons?” Adeolu asked bewildered.

Kelvin rubbed the fingers of his free hand against his temple and sighed. “Wow. I can’t believe I actually forgot about that”

“I can’t believe that either” Adeolu returned, sounding stupefied”

Kelvin sighed again because that was the only thing he could do. “Just handle it alright; I might get to the office a little bit late”

His phone beeped and he pulled it away from his ear to check the caller. He frowned instantly, knowing something was wrong. “I’ll talk to you later Deolu” before Adeolu could respond, he hung up and answered the incoming call. “Ara” he said instantly.

“Ara P is in complete disarray Kelvin” Amara said instantly. “I haven’t gone in yet but my entire staff are standing outside, my company is upside down because of Lisa”

“Oh” he breathed. He had hoped that Lisa wouldn’t strike so early, obviously, he had been wrong again. Just like he had been wrong about so many things in his life. “Calm down sweetheart.”

“How can you tell me to calm down Kelvin? Lisa is playing with my life, this is my company; MY COMPANY” she yelled over the phone. “I am sick and tired of these people who would not let me be Kelvin” she wailed. “What did I ever do to deserve this? I won’t take this! I would personally send that woman to hell if I have to”

“Please calm down sweetheart. I am coming over” he quickly said, summoning enough strength to walk to the wardrobe. “Please don’t do anything before I get there”

“Don’t do anything? How can you even say that? It is my company that is in this big mess right now, not yours, and I would not stand here and do nothing”

“Would you just do what I say?” Kelvin yelled in frustration. The lack of sleep and complete exhaustion was beginning to affect on his patience; the thought of Amara going into the company unprotected made him feel sick. “Just do nothing till I get there” he commanded, hung up and flung the phone on the bed. Forgoing a terribly needed bath, Kelvin hurriedly threw on some clothes, brushed his teeth, and rinsed his face. Grabbing his phone and car keys, he exited the house.

**********
**********

Amara stared at the phone as tears clouded her eyes. Why had she called Kelvin in the first place? If she had known that he would yell at her instead of try to pacify her like she badly needed, she would never have called him. She tried to remember when Kelvin had ever yelled at her and could not come up with an answer. But as much as she wanted to dwell on that, she had a bigger problem at hand and she couldn’t be seen hanging onto the shoulders of a man when her staff were looking up to her for direction. If Kelvin arrived, then it was none of her business, but she would be seen as irresponsible if she truly stayed here with her staff standing outside. The people in the environment must definitely be suspicious that something was amiss.

She squared her shoulders and walked to her murmuring staff that fell quiet immediately she got closer. “OK guys” she began. “First, I would go in to fully inspect the offices, then, we would all go in”

“But… the security men already did that”

“Yes ma’am” one of the security men answered. “We checked everywhere except your office which was locked”

Amara nodded then glanced at the two security officers who stood with them there. Somehow, she felt she couldn’t trust them. How could someone have broken into the company and destroyed things when she had two security officers on stand? She definitely had her questions and doubts, but they could still wait. First, she had to get her staff in. “I know that. Still, I am going in to inspect. It is my duty to ensure your safety”

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“I am going with you” Tobi said as she turned to leave.

“No Tobi-”

“I can’t let you go in alone boss, if you must go inside, I would go with you”

Amara smiled at him. “Thanks Tobi” she said gratefully and walked towards the building with Tobi walking firmly beside her. Tobi opened the door and walked in ahead of Amara. Amara walked in cautiously behind him and blinked as a shudder ran through her. She blinked back tears as she stared at what used to be a very orderly place. Tables were overturned, some chairs were broken, documents were all over, and water was  also on the ground, obviously emptied from the dispenser. Lisa has overstepped her bounds! But how do you deal with someone whose whereabouts is unknown. Amara clenched her fists angrily at her sides and Tobi touched her arm.

“It is OK boss, we would have it all fixed and it would be the way it was before”

Amara nodded grimly and swallowed, walking ahead. She feared what she would find when she opened the room holding her supplies and she avoided the room, checking offices first. Finally, unable to postpone it much longer, she opened the door to the store and gasped. She gripped the handle of the door fiercely. Everything had been destroyed, turn beyond redemption. She had thought her staff had exaggerated the damage, but as she inspected with blurry eyes, she knew that they hadn’t.

Tobi touched her arm slightly. “We would be able to salvage some things boss, we would work together”

Amara gave Tobi a watery smile. He was really intent on easing her pain and she was glad to have him there. She might not have been able to handle it of she had entered alone. Lisa couldn’t come to threaten her years of hard work. “I would not allow this” she murmured aloud. “Someone must pay for this”

She turned away from the store instantly, unable to stand the sight of the damage done there. “I would check my office, Tobi, please check the conference room” she said authoritatively, walking towards her office. Tobi hesitated, then reluctantly carried out his boss’ orders. Amara got to her office and extracted her key from her handbag. She inserted the key in its hole and twisted. The door opened and breathed in relief when she saw that her office looked pretty much the same. She walked into her office, looking around cautiously, not wanting to be careless. For the first time, she noticed that the air conditioner was on. Didn’t I turn that off before leaving? She wondered vaguely. Her heartbeat increased as a strange thought crept to her brain. She went to the toilet door and, with her heart in her mouth, she opened it slowly. She heaved a sigh when she found it empty. She exhaled. Tell me I am already becoming paranoid! She walked back to her table, bending to check under.

“Amara”

Amara shrieked and jumped up in fright, coming face to face with Kelvin. Her breath came out in fast gasps as she tried to regulate her breathing. “Kelvin” she gasped out, controlling her breathing. “You scared me” she breathed. Why did she allow this to get to her so much. Lisa had no doubt succeeded in making her jumpy.

Kelvin’s face showed anger and exhaustion. “I told you not to do anything Amara” he bit out angrily.

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Amara raised her chin defiantly. “You have no right to give me instructions Kelvin, this is my company and-”
“You could have been hurt Ara” Kelvin cut in angrily. “Someone could have hurt you in here, you can’t just put yourself at risk” he raked his hand through his hair. “If you would only do what you want, why did you call me”

“I have been asking myself the same thing” Amara returned stonily. “I would not be scared of entering my own company because of Lisa Kelvin”

“And what if it is not Lisa uhn? What if someone else is doing this?”

Amara stared at Kelvin’s angry face as her mouth fell dry. She didn’t even want to consider the fact that she might be dealing with someone else. It was bad enough if she knew who was after her, but if she had no clue as to who was after her downfall, that would be complete disaster. “It can only be Lisa” she said, trying to convince herself as well as Kelvin. “But what is your problem anyways? I am the one at risk here not you”

“Don’t you get it?” He barked and marched towards her, grabbing her by the arm and hurling her against his chest. Amara gasped. “I would rather get hurt a thousand times than see you get hurt again” he bit out through clenched teeth. Kelvin was boiling with rage and feeling her small form against his body served to even feed his anger, but then, he wasn’t angry at her, he was angry at himself. Angry that he could not stop himself from wanting what he couldn’t have. He groaned and, giving in to the unavoidable temptation, he lowered his head and covered her mouth with his. This is a mistake! A mistake! The words danced around in his head but they were not enough to stop him from pulling her tighter against him. He had been longing to do this for years, been wanting to hold her in the circle of his arms and kiss her endlessly; it had been a longing that wouldn’t go away. He took her mouth hungrily, filling the kiss with all the love he had kept bottled up, forgetting everything that could pull them apart, only wanting to savor this precious time. Amara softened in his arms as he deepened the kiss and her hands travelled to his neck.

“Boss”

The voice rang loud and clear, pulling Amara away from Kelvin instantly.

“I am… sorry… I didn’t know…” Tobi said in agitation as he made to retreat.

Embarrassment flooded Amara’s cheeks as she looked around. Kelvin just stared at Tobi, wondering why he hadn’t had the sense to close the door. As Amara looked around, her eyes fell on something on a chair. “What is Tina’s bag doing here?” She asked startled.

Kelvin, still trying to keep his head straight, followed her gaze until he was staring at the bag in question. “Thought you said you both do business together, she might have forgotten it here” he asked frowning.

“Yes. But the problem is that I have not seen her in days” she frowned as she walked towards the bag and lifted it. Now that she thought about it, it was strange that Tina hadn’t contacted her. “I have neither seen nor heard from her in several days now. What does this mean Kelvin” she asked bewildered. Knowing that an enemy was after her would have been sensible, but a friend? Could her friend be doing this? Tina?

…to be continued

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