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Kate stood frozen on her doorstep, suddenly struck by the appeal of not being rich. Her head pounded with the onset of a sudden stress headache as she stared unseeing at the missive in her palm. Without money, her life had been hard but simple, and filled with challenges but nothing she had not been able to handle with loving friends and family by her side. Since she had been singled out for possible wealth, she had been viewed as dubious, betrayed, condescended to, hated without provocation and now, threatened.
Is this how rich people live? Kate thought to herself wildly, the piece of paper in her shaky hand fluttering. Is this the price of prosperity? Do I really want this?
When a hand suddenly touched her shoulder, Kate let out a muted scream and almost jumped a foot high.
“Hey, relax, it’s me.” It was Chris, voice tinged with amusement. When he saw the genuine terror in Kate’s face, his face grew serious. “What’s wrong?”
Kate took a shuddering breath and rubbed her aching forehead. “For heaven’s sake, Chris! Did you have to sneak up on me like that?”
The piece of paper slipped from her fingers and Chris indistinctively grabbed at it before it reached the floor. “I didn’t sneak up on you. I came out of my room and walked over here, but you were engrossed in reading this…” his voice trailed off as he read the contents of the note. “What the heck….?”
Kate snatched the piece of paper away. “That’s none of your business.”
Chris cocked his head to one side and stared at her incredulously. “Are you insane? That is a threat! How is it not my business?”
“Don’t you have other wide-hipped damsels to rescue?” Kate snapped.
Chris rolled his eyes. “This is no time for jealousy.”
“I’m not jealous!” Kate lied furiously. She turned around and walked into her room, tossing the bags she had been carrying on to her bed. When she noticed Chris had followed her and closed the door behind him softly, she scowled. “Please, leave. I don’t want you here.”
Chris leaned on the closed door and crossed his jean-covered legs. Muscles bulged as he crossed his arms as well, tightening the sleeves of his red t-shirt. He languidly ran his eyes over long legs bared to his avid interest by her black shorts. “Well, tough luck. I’m not leaving till you tell me what that note meant and what ‘next time’ meant. Did something happen to you?”
Kate hesitated, the memory of her near-drowning resurfacing. Her haunted expression alarmed Chris and he straightened up from the door and walked towards her. “Jesus, Kate, tell me what happened. How can I watch your back if I don’t know…”
“Well, you’re doing a terrific job of back-watching, Chris!” Kate snapped. “Only you weren’t watching mine. While you were busy fondling Idara’s behind, someone was trying to drown me in the swimming pool…”
“When did this happen?” Chris cut in tensely.
The tone of his voice startled Kate into honesty. “About five to ten minutes before i came up to your room. I thought I saw someone using a camera phone to watch the pool from one of the windows in this part of the house, and I ran upstairs to check. That’s when I found you and Idara…”
Chris stepped forward and gripped her shoulders. “Think carefully. What window were you being watched from?”
Kate blinked hard. Despite her anger at him, his nearness and touch were causing her stomach to flutter. “I…I’m not sure. I thought it was the window of the room after mine, but it was empty when I got upstairs. And your blinds were closed….”
Chris’s grip tightened on her arms, but even though he was looking at her, his gaze was far off. “Oh. My. God. Now it makes sense. I’ve been suspecting the wrong person all this while. But why? I don’t understand.”
“What do you mean? Who have you been suspecting?” Kate interrupted Chris’s soliloquy, her impatience rising at the same time as her awareness of his touch grew. The warmth of his palms was beconing a blazing heat mirrored in her lower stomach. “What is going on?”
Chris’s gaze focused on her again, and the intensity in his eyes made her knees weak.
“What you saw yesterday…” he hesitated. “I know it sounds cliché, but it truly wasn’t what it looked like. I admit Idara and I had a thing some months ago. A fling, nothing more than that. But, I can assure you nothing is going on between us anymore.” He moved his gaze to her lips. “There’s only one person I feel that fire for now.”
Kate felt her heart miss a beat and she found herself breathing shallowly as she struggled with the desire to believe him. “But you were kissing her..”
“I cannot deny that was what you saw.” Chris murmured, drawing closer to her until their breaths mingled. “But yet, it was not.”
Kate felt dizzy at his nearness. The smell of her perfume and his cologne filed the space between them, the smell of their undeniable chemistry as electricity zinged between them. Her head was filled with the memory of their last kiss and how soft his lips had been, how sweet and clean his mouth had tasted. Their lips were mere inches from each other. All that was left was for one person to bridge the gap…
The phone beside the bed rang shrilly, breaking Kate out of her trance. She stumbled out of Chris’s grip, shocked into sense, her heart pounding as he muttered angrily, throwing a glare at the shrieking phone.
What was she doing? He had just been kissing another woman the day before! Was she such a glutton for punishment?
She stumbled towards the phone, and snatched it up gladly, back turned to Chris, refusing to think beyond that moment. As she mumbled a hello, she wondered what would happen after the phone call was ended. Would she find herself back in Chris’s arms? It seemed like a possibility. All he had to do was look into her eyes and she was putty in his arms…
“Hello? Good afternoon, ma. It’s the security post at the house gates. Miss Kate Udoh, you have a guest down here. A Mr….” the sound from the other end of the phone line was muffled as the security man murmured a question to someone. “…a Mr Deji Adekoya. Do you know him?”
Kate’s eyes widened.
What was Deji doing in Akwa-Ibom state?
Check back on Tuesday for more episodes.