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The Alamond Affair (sneak peak 2)

By now I had Caroline’s full attention. I could have asked her to secure me a water bed in my holding cell and she could have returned with a bed strong and comfortable enough to accommodate a wanton Duke with twelve mistresses in one seating.

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Allegiance: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle – Chapter Four

The atmosphere in Shadreck Mtonga’s office was icy cold. Gilbert was sweating a storm under his dark blue Armani suit. He wanted to choke the life out of his partner for putting him in such an awkward position. He wished nothing but for the ground to open up and swallow them both. Continue reading

An Untimely Love – Part 14


A text came from Alex just as Oliver was getting ready to knock off from work.

Sam has invited me to dinner. 

Should I go?

Oliver who was about ready to open his door paused, starring at his phone like a man frozen in time. This is exactly what Fantasia was talking about, he thought. what exactly was he supposed to do and what was the right thing to say in such a situation.
Oliver sighed heavily and replied; Have fun kiddo and take care of yourself.
And he switched off his phone. 
The tears that fell from Alex’s eyes came so fast it was as if they had been waiting for the disappointment to simply be confirmed.
“What was I expecting?” She said as she went about her room searching for something to wear. “Coward.” She kept repeating whilst sobbing, throwing clothes from the closet down on the floor.
“Bloody coward!!!” She finally broke apart and dropped onto the floor, clatching a bunch of clothes in her hands.

“You look stunning,” Sam complimented her when she opened the door for him. She was wearing a figure-hugging little shimmery black dress with white pearls around her neck and matching earrings. 
“Thank you,” Alex forced a smile and stepped aside to let him in. “Come in.”
Sam stepped closer, gave her a hug and planted a kiss on her forehead. With his arms still around her waist, he held her upper body slightly back and looked her in the eyes. “You look very beautiful Alex, but you also look like you just spent the last five hours crying.”
For a moment Alex had forgotten how attentive to detail Sam was. He somehow always knew when she was in a happy or bad mood and he always had the right words to say to comfort her. The sincerity and care in his eyes was the last thing Alex needed in that moment after spending the last thirty minutes fighting back the tears that just wouldn’t stop pouring. It was like they had a mind of their own. 
And naturally, Sam’s concern triggered them back on and they came streaming down.
Without saying a word, Sam held her tightly in his arms and held her like that until her sobs settled. 
“Even though I feel like showing you off to the world with the way you are looking right now, I think that tonight is a bad time for you to be out there.” Sam said after a while. “How about we kick our shoes off and I whip us something in the kitchen? I hope your fridge is stocked!” 
He gave her no time to respond but took her by the hand and led her to sit down on the couch. “Sit right there, or better yet put on some feel good music for us while I scan the house for any edibles.”
“But Sam-“
“No buts, just humor me this once okay?” His eyes were literally pleading with her to go with the flow. Everything he was doing was out of concern for her and yet it was so clear she was being unfair to him. He had a right to get upset and feel disappointed and yet it was her feelings he put ahead of his. 
Alex nodded like an obedient child.
“Good girl!” Sam said enthusiastically, getting up and rushing to the kitchen. 
Alex remembered an interview Sam had years back where he revealed he was a big fan of Stevie Wonder and she went for his record.
“That’s what am talking about!” Sam’s head popped from the kitchen the moment the music filled the air.
Alex laughed and went to join him in the kitchen. 
“How did you know I would like that?” He asked.
“I told you, I am your number one fan,” She said. “Where did you find that?” She pointed to the black and blue apron he was wearing, looking right at home in her kitchen. 
“It’s not a very complicated kitchen you know,” he said. “Everything is packed in its place. If I didn’t know better I would think you have an OCD or something. Everything is a little too perfectly arranged.”
She laughed. “Maybe I am, is that a problem?” 
“As long as it’s not the type that makes you rush straight into the bathroom after we make love cause that would just-“ he stopped his sentence short, realizing he had ran miles from the shocked expression on her face. 
“My bad,” he quickly said. “I…I…it was a joke. A very bad joke. Dammit Samuel Daniels what’s wrong with you!?” he was hitting his head on the side.
Alex busted out laughing, forcing Sam to stop and stare at her in wonder. “You’re laughing.” He noted. “You are not kicking me out of the house…yet.”
“I am a clean freak quiet alright but I doubt it’s at an OCD level so you have nothing more to worry about.” Alex reassured him. 
“Oh thank God!” He said, laughing. 
“Anything I can help with?” She asked, moving to stand next to him by the sink where he was now washing some vegetables. “What are you making?”
“It’s a special Sam recipe. It looks like you have a stable supply of food in this house, something I was expecting from a workaholic student like you. Besides, you don’t look like you eat anything, at all.” He was scanning her slim frame from head to toe.
“It’s O-Paulina and Cassey who bought everything actually.” She avoided saying Oliver’s name. “How about I wash those while you check what’s on the stove?”
“No-“
“Am not taking no for an answer.” Alex quickly interjected him before he could finish what he was about to say. “I will be bored just watching you do everything. I need to keep myself busy.”
Sam immediately obliged her. She was right, she needed to keep her mind off whatever thoughts were running wild in her head. 

Doctor Russel slowly opened the door to his house a few minutes after midnight fully prepared to withstand the storm that awaited him on the other side of the door. As expected, he found both wife and daughter very much wide awake, well, maybe not both. Mathilda looked like she hadn’t gotten any sleep while Cathy looked like she had just been forced awake. There was a bunch of suitcases packed on the other side of the room. 
“What are you people still doing up this time?” He asked. He knew exactly what type of show they were putting on but he still chose to humour them.it was the least he could do after turning their perfect little world upside down. 
No verbal response came from Mathilda but her body language was enough to turn the few remaining black hairs in the professor’s head into grey.
“How could you do this to us dad?” Cathy added sound to her mother’s silent protest. “Do you have any idea how much humiliation I went through today?”
The professor quietly went to sit down, leaving as much distance between him and the wife as possible. 
“Aren’t you going to answer your daughter?” Mathilda finally spoke, turning her body fully around to face him.
“What are those bags about?” Benson asked, pointing to the suitcases in the corner and completely ignoring the questions being fired at him. 
Mathilda stood up. “I am leaving you and I am taking my daughter with me since you obviously want nothing to do with us. Maybe you and that Karla can finally have the happy family you’ve always wanted to have.”
He scoffed and stood up as well. “Just swallow some anti-depressants like you always do and go to bed, the both of you and stop putting on a show.” He said and started walking towards the stairs.
“Benson Russel!” His wife called out to him. “Don’t you dare walk away from me. Do you think this is a bluff?”
The doctor stopped and slowly turned back around. “As a matter of fact yes, I think this is all a bluff because if you really wanted to leave, you wouldn’t have waited up for me till this hour when you could have been half-way through to wherever you’re going in your heads. How much are you willing to bet that there’s actually nothing packed in those bags over there?”
Cathy’s jaw dropped in surprise. “How did you know dad?” She asked and was immediately awarded with a look of utter disappointment from her mother.
“You fool,” Mathilda said to her daughter.
“Did you actually think that you would lie to him mum?” Cathy defiantly asked her mother. “I told you this is a waste of time. I’m going to bed now. You guys sort this out yourselves.” And she dragged herself up the stairs. 
“When are you going to stop manipulating everything to your will Mathilda?” Benson asked. “If you want to leave, leave but you are not taking my daughter with you. There’s no way am going to let you turn her into something worse than she already is. that girl needs help urgently and if you searched your heart as a mother, you would support me instead of antagonizing me all the way.”
The father followed the daughter up the stairs leaving the wife standing alone in the middle of the living room, desperate tears rolling down her cheeks. Mathilda Russel had finally been cornered into a wall. 
“Alex Saunders or whatever they call you, you think you’ve won don’t you?” She said between clenched teeth and clenched fists.

On Saturday evening, Alex got off her bike to enter her apartment building after a long day at work when someone honked at her from behind. She turned in that direction to find a very familiar car parked not far from the entrance. She had just driven right passed it and had she been paying attention, she would have done everything to avoid the pending confrontation at all cost. 
Cathy opened her door and stepped out of the car, a bemused smile on her face as she walked towards Alex. 
“I heard one of your lovers got you a BMW so why in hell are you moving around on a donkey?” she kicked the bicycle with the tip of her four inch red stiletto.
“What do you want Cathy?” Alex asked, making no effort to hide her displeasure. 
“Get over yourself I am not the least bit interested in this meeting just as you are.” She retorted.
“Then what the hell are you doing here honking at me?” Alex asked.
“Since that coward friend of yours, wait, should I say step-son or lover boy?”
Alex turned her back and was ready to walk away.
“I am pregnant with his child.” Cathy loudly announced. Alex turned to find her rubbing her visibly flat belly.  “I also only found out yesterday. Am 2 months along. He won’t answer my calls and he hasn’t been at his place for a while now.”
“Could you be any more obvious Cathy?” Alex asked, not falling for the diaper news. “Say you’re pregnant and he won’t leave you. Isn’t that what all the desperate girls do to keep a man?”
“Say whatever you want but my pregnancy is arched in stone you wouldn’t rub it off even if you tried. Tony can do all the tests he wants the truth won’t change. I am pregnant and it is his child. Since I can’t deliver this news personally to him, I know that you will deliver it. Tell him I have zero intentions of getting rid of it and zero plans of raising the child alone, comprende?”
Cathy hopped back to her car, every part inch of her body exuding pride and victory. 
Alex waited for Cathy to disappear from sight before cycling to Duncan’s house where she knew Anton was hiding. 
She pressed the bell at the gate and waited for a few seconds before the gate came wide open.  This was the fifth time Alex was visiting the Schmidt residence. If she was to rank the homes of all her friends, the Schmidt’s residence came second after the Cooper’s in terms of size, class and elegance. Every time she rode her bike down the long drive way made her feel like she was Alice in Wonderland. Whereas Oliver Cooper’s home felt like home, Duncan’s home made her feel like she had just been granted access into a parallel universe and even though she was sincerely welcomed, she couldn’t help feeling like escaping any chance she got. The house was just too perfectly decorated like a five star hotel to feel like a home. Everything in it was deliberately placed and saved a specific purpose. 
But what could one expect of the number one home maker and interior décor expert in town? Alex wondered as she got off her bike and handed it over to Victor the resident valet. 
“Welcome Ms Alex.” Victor happily greeted her. It appeared he had finally come to terms with addressing her by her first name after months of negotiating even the prefix remained unchanged.
“Long time Victor, how have you been?” Alex returned the greeting. 
“Very fine thank you,” he answered. “The gentlemen are by the foyer on the East wing.” He said before disappearing. 
“It would have been shorter and quicker if I rode the bike there.” She said to herself and went round the house. 
“Alex?” Duncan jumped in his seat when Alex came through. Alex was like the younger version of his mother. He knew no other woman that would nag him into acting responsively every time he acted like a wild child. 
Anton who had been facing away from the entrance with his legs propped on the other chair quickly turned around the moment he heard Alex’s name. 
“Look at the two of you chilling out here like two old men enjoying their retirement.” Alex said as she joined them where they were seated. “I wonder what your mother would say if she received an anonymous call from someone informing her about her son’s absence from school for no apparent reason.” 
She made a move for her phone but both men were up on their feet ready to grab the phone from her. Duncan succeeded and quickly threw the phone at Anton who immediately secured it in the inside pocket of his coat. 
Alex was shaking her head slowly in disbelief. “Do you actually think that I wouldn’t reach down there to get it?” She asked Tony. 
In response, Anton slumped his head and shoulders in surrender.
“She’s right,” Duncan said in a defeated tone. “I don’t think there’s any place on my body this chick is afraid to touch, what more you?” He pointed at Anton. “You guys are worse than siblings.”
Alex laughed but Anton didn’t seem to catch the joke.
“Alex is far from being anything like a sister to me.” He said matter-of-factly. “Should I even ask how you knew I was here?” 
“I know the Schmidt’s are on vacation so what better place for you to hide out than their very high class home?” Alex said. “You are very predictable Anton, and I know you could never hide far from home no matter how bad things got.”
“See what I meant?” Duncan said.
“Shut up D!” Anton warned him.
“Fine,” Duncan raised his hands. “I’m going inside to get some more drinks. The usual for you Alex?”
“Yes Dee, thanks.” She said, making herself comfortable in her chair. “And take your time okay!” she shouted after him.
Duncan laughed. “I know exactly what that mean!” She shouted back. “Ten minutes okay?”
“Yeah!” Alex replied. 
“What is it?” Anton asked.
“What do you mean what is it?” She asked.
“I know you wouldn’t have come all the way here if you didn’t have something you urgently needed to talk to me about.”
Alex chuckled. “Your dad and I eloped.” She said.
“Please, tell me something that makes sense.” Anton said, completely unfazed by her fake news. “My dad would rather lose a leg than admit to you or to the world that he has feelings for you.”
So you know that about him? Alex thought.
“Look at you, your whole face has changed just at the mention of him. Do you like him that much?” Anton asked. “I don’t remember ever seeing you like that even though you claim to have loved me.”
“Claim?” Alex asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I just don’t get how your feelings could have shifted so fast from me to my dad. Before it could even sink in my head that you liked me more than a friend, you heart had already moved to my dad. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around that.”
“Is that why you hate me so much these days?” 
“I never said I hate you. I’m just…bitter? or should I say, disappointed?”
“Why are you disappointed?”
“Because it’s my father Alex!” Anton said. “I get it he’s a cool guy and looks younger for his age. I know you are not the type to fall for money or anything vain like that but still, he’s old enough to be your dad Alex. In fact, he’s always acted like your father all these years. When did your feelings shift really? One minute he’s the father you never had and next minute he’s the man of your dreams.”
“I too don’t know when it all changed or started.” She said. “All I know is that he was always there for me whenever something was going on in my life, more than you ever were. I guess after seeing you change girls all these years and watching you pick Cathy over me forced me face what I somehow already knew but had been avoiding to confront.”
“So are you telling me I have no chance with you?” 
Alex kept her eyes lowered, afraid to look up at him and see the hurt that she could hear in his voice. This was the long awaited conversation between the two of them. it was about time that they confronted reality as it was rather than avoid it. 
Anton sat up straight in his chair and put his hands together. “hmm Alex?” He prompted her to answer. “Have you completely erased me from your heart?”
“Anton-“ Alex searched for the right words to say but couldn’t find the right ones. Instead, she changed the topic. “I didn’t come here to talk about my love life Tony.” She said. “I had the misfortune of receiving a visit from your girlfriend some good forty or so minutes ago.”
“I thought your issues with her and her family where done yesterday. Those guys are really sick.” He said.
“That’s not why she came to see me. her visit was about you. apparently you’ve been ignoring her calls for days now.”
“And she came to you so that you do what?”
“So that I deliver this special message: she is 2 months pregnant with your child and she says she has no intentions whatsoever of getting rid of the pregnancy.”
Anton laughed. “And you believe her shit?” He asked.
“I did. Sadly, I don’t think she’s lying Tony.”
“There’s no way she can be pregnant, we were always careful.”
“How careful were you exactly?”
“I made sure she was on her pill and…ooh-“He let the sentence hang, finally realizing his error in judgement. “That bitch. How could she-“
“How could she trap you you mean?” Alex asked sarcastically. “Don’t act like you didn’t know what you were dealing with. You knew what she was but you just couldn’t resist. That’s on you Tony so don’t think about blaming her for how things turned out. You thought you could have her in one way but avoid certain parts of her?” And she laughed. “Why are men so vain when it comes to women?”
“I see you are enjoying yourself taking a selfie in front of a burning house ah.” Anton said, his face heavy with emotion. 
“I’m just trying to help you face the facts.” She said. “You always have this tendency to blame someone if things don’t go your way. So what do you plan on doing now?”
“I guess I just have to wait for the baby to be born and take a test.” He said. 
“And if the child is really yours?”
“What?” Anton glared at her. “You don’t expect me to go all mushy and say I will do the right thing by her do you? C’mon Alex you know me better than that. I will raise my child of course but I want nothing to do with the mother, period. And if she thinks she can use the child to milk money out of me, she’s got another thing coming I can promise you that.” 
Alex sighed heavily and leaned her back against the chair, head pulled back and eyes staring up to the ceiling. “How did we end up here Tony?” 
“You mean me as a father and you as my potential step-mother?” He laughed.
“None of this is funny.” She said in a very sombre tone.
“I know.” Anton said, his tone matching hers. “Sometimes I sleep hoping to wake up and find it was all just a bad dream and now there’s news of a child. How the hell do I tell the old man he’s going to be a grandfather, and to a child am having with Cathy of all people? He’s gonna kill me or knock me off the inheritance.”
“You know he cant do that.” Alex said.
“He can’t yeah but he will make sure he frustrates me enough into believing he can just to teach me a lesson.” 
Alex laughed. “You are right about that one.” 
“And yourself,” he was looking squarely at her now. Alex sat up straight to face him.
“What about me?” She asked.
“What are you going to do about my dad? You know he’s never gonna admit he likes you right?”
“Are you asking because you truly want to know or is this a way of you rubbing reality in my face?”
“After seeing the look in your eyes today, I know for a fact that I don’t stand a chance with you. Also, a huge part of me sort of understand why you fell for my dad. I think I would fall for him as well if I were a girl.”
Alex laughed and he chuckled with her.
“I’m just telling it as it is.” Anton said. “He’s a cool guy I’ll give him that but I am also going to be honest with you Alex, I can’t stand the idea of you being my step-mother. I mean, it’s you Alex! But then again, when I think about it, I ask myself questions like; do I really want to see my father spend the rest of his life alone? 
“Or, would I rather see him with another woman other than you? When I think about all the women out there, I can’t help coming to the conclusion that you would make the best wife for him. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I guess it’s one I will have to swallow since I love the both of you and I want you both to be happy.”
In all the years she had known Anton, Alex had never imagined ever having such a mature conversation with him; a conversation in which he did not put just his feelings on the table, but he considered everyone else’s feelings as well. 
“Please, don’t start crying on me now.” Anton warned her upon seeing her teary eyes.
She laughed and forced back the tears. “I am just thinking…how I wish you had said these words a few weeks ago…and, how I wish it was possible to be that kind of woman to Oliver but I have to face the fact that he doesn’t love me as much as I wish he would because if he did, none of the fears he has would matter.”
“I don’t doubt he loves you Alex.” Anton said. “I have never seen anyone rattle his world as wild as you did from the moment you confessed to him. He hasn’t been the same since. He probably, in fact, not probably, he actually thinks not being with you is the ultimate way he could ever express his love for you.
“You have to keep in mind, he’s the older guy here and you are like what, 19 years younger than him! The guy is scared you are too young and hot for him. Even folks like him have their own insecurities. Yeah he might look young for his age but the fact still remains there’s 19 years between you.
“I know that if I were him I would be worrying about you suddenly waking up one day and realizing you didn’t love me like you thought you did. Maybe you mistook fatherly love for something more. What if some young bloke comes along and sweeps you off your feet? And knowing my dad, he’s probably thinking, what if I’m too old to give her the kind of life she deserves? He’s probably thinking he will burden you or something, I know that guy.”
Alex stared in awe at her best friend. What have they done to my Tony? She couldn’t help wondering. “Who are you?” She asked him.
He laughed. “Don’t look at me like that.” He said. “I might be a little immature but I know something about men, and am an expert at knowing my father. by the way is that Sam guy still hanging around you like a leech?”
“Tony!” 
“What?” He said. “I just plain don’t like the guy. He is exactly the type of guy that all men hate. He has everything that we know women dream about. I hate him.”
Alex laughed. “That’s true.” She said, a far off expression on her face. “Then I guess that means something is wrong with me right?”
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“He’s been nothing but kind, loving and caring to me but apart from feelings of gratitude, I feel nothing more for him. He is like the dream friend I always wanted but I know it’s selfish to keep him like that because he wants and expects more. 
“You have no idea how many times I have tried to will my heart into loving him back. I keep thinking, if I can channel all these feelings I have for Oliver to this wonderful man that adores and worships me, then maybe I can breathe a little easy.”
“Isn’t life a bitch?” Anton said. “It always finds a way of screwing us over, one way or another. I don’t get how given two people, one that loves us and one that doesn’t, why do we always fall for the one that doesn’t love us back?”
“I know right?” Was all Alex could say in return just as Duncan appeared with bottles of beer in hand. 

An Untimely Love – Part 11

“What is she doing here?” Anton mumbled more to himself than anyone else in the room.

“I think I can answer that.” Sam teasingly raised his hand, a smile on his face as he looked at a very disturbed Anton.

Alex moved away from the door and left the two men standing there. She grabbed the Tv remote from the table, plopped herself onto the couch and turned on the tele.

Turning to Alex, “I need to talk to Anton about something,” Sam said. “Will just take a bit,” and to Anton he said, “Let’s talk as we head down.” He pushed the door open before Anton could turn him down.

Anton remained standing where he was for a few seconds looking confused. “I’m gonna go,” he said to Alex whose gaze was fixed on whatever movie was showing on the screen. She didn’t bother turning to look at him.

“I will sort out this issue with Cathy completely and you and I will continue this conversation properly after. Alex?”

She finally looked at him. “I don’t think there’s any point An-“

Sam appeared back through the door. “Are you coming or not?”

“There’s still a lot you and I need to talk about.” Anton said sternly, completely ignoring Sam. “I’ll see you tomorrow on camp.”

Anton brushed passed Sam the moment he was done, taking long strides as he walked but only to suddenly stop, turn and confront Sam who was rushing to catch up with him from behind.

“Yoh.” Sam put his arms forward to wade off a confrontation thinking Anton was aiming for a fight. “Let’s use words man, no need for this-“

“What’s your deal?” Anton asked, his very tall frame towering over the pop star and moving in towards him a little too close for comfort.

“I could ask you the same question man,” Sam retorted. “What’s your deal, two girls at once? Don’t you have any shame?”

“I don’t have two women,” Anton said. “I already broke up with Cathy so-“

“Says who?” Cathy unceremoniously chipped in the moment she stepped out of the lift, her eyes a ball of fire as she approached the two gentlemen.

“Cathy, how did-“ Anton started to ask.

Cathy waved her hand to dismiss him. “The important question here is; what are you doing here?” She asked Anton.

A few doors on that floor opened in anger to check out the source of the commotion, faces and voices screaming; take it somewhere else!

“Oh my God it’s Sam! Mum!” A teenage girl screamed in excitement upon spotting Sam who in turn cussed under his breath for allowing himself to be discovered.

Sam quickly turned to Anton. “You and I will talk some other time.” He was already turning to rush back inside before the whole apartment came out. “The both of you better take this outside before it’s too late.” He said, pointing from Anton to Cathy.

“Is that her place?” Cathy asked and tried to push her way passed Anton but he blocked her way, arms stretched out.

Sam quickly opened the door, entered and locked it behind him. “That girl is crazy!” He said to Alex who was still seated in the couch looking absolutely unperturbed by the chaos taking place outside.

“What are you going to do if the paparazzi find out you’re here?” Alex asked the pop star.

Sam walked over to where she was and sat down next to her. “I think it’s already too late to worry about that now.”

Alex stared wide-eyed at him. “Did someone see you?”

“That girl was screaming at the top of her lungs, of course someone saw me.” He answered.

Alex was up on her feet, panic written all over her face. “You should leave before they get here.” She said.

Sam laughed. “Why should I leave?”

Alex raised her brows in puzzlement. “I live alone in this apartment. I don’t have to tell you what type of ridiculous articles will come out if my identity gets out.”

“They’ve already done their speculation on that. Haven’t you seen today’s tabloids?” Sam asked.

“What do you mean?” Alex asked. “Did they write something about us?”

Sam appeared amused by the shock on her face. “Alex, you were my date last night. Of course the tabloids have something to say about that regardless of what was said during interviews. So you haven’t read any paper or checked the net today?”

“No I haven’t.” She answered, silently thinking in retrospect how strange it was that she had not seen a single newspaper in sight at Oliver’s mansion. What could have been written that he didn’t want her to see?

Frantically, Alex reached for her phone and was about to type Sam’s name in the search engine when the trending stories showed up right at the top of the page. “Oh my God this can’t be happening.” She said as she scrolled down the page and discovered numerous pictures of her at last night’s event as well as not so flattering pictures of her from the past that had somehow made their way into the public sphere.

Sam took offense to her reaction and he was quick to voice it. “So this is how it feels to be out rightly rejected by a woman.” He said, a sombre expression on his face. “Is that how much you don’t like me? Wooow-” He hang his head low and ran his hand through his hair.

Sam’s words went straight to Alex’s heart and she couldn’t hide the instant regret. She had only been concerned about her fears concerning Oliver’s reaction and what it would mean for them if speculations about her and Sam spread that she forgot about what such a reaction might mean for the man that had come all the way to see her.

She slowly put her phone down and faced Sam, remorse written all over her face. “I’m very sorry,” she said.

“Those are the top three words I hate hearing from a woman I like.” Sam said.

“Why do you like me Sam?” Alex asked. “I mean, you are YOU! You are a celebrity, the hottest and most trending on the scene right now. Why would someone like you like me?”

Sam laughed. “What’s wrong with me liking you?”

Alex simply threw him a blank look.

“You’re a beautiful girl Alex!” Sam answered her ‘look.’ “You’re easy going, you’re real, funny, when am with you I feel like the rest of my world around me doesn’t matter, it’s just me and you. You are easy to get along with and you have no idea how hard it is for someone like me to feel like that with somebody. I don’t have one specific reason why I like you but all I know is that when am not with you, I want to be with you.”

Alex wasn’t sure what to say and she couldn’t understand why Sam’s words where making her feel restless. More than his words, it was the sincerity in his eyes that shook her already confused heart. Was it because he was an expert at writing and singing love songs that he was able to shake her up like that? She wondered. Only a few minutes ago Anton had said almost the same words but her heart had not been moved in the slightest.

There had been a time in Alex’s life when she would have given anything to hear Anton say that he liked her as more than a friend but she wasn’t sure when that desire had disappeared. Of the many things Anton had done to reject her feelings, the one that stood out the most was the day she discovered that Cathy had already informed him about their past and he had not bothered to talk to her about it. Anton could not have found a better way to let her know just how much she meant to him. Unlike Oliver who had stood by her all through that experience, Anton had been too quick to dismiss her pain.

But just what was she supposed to think about the things Sam was telling her?

Sam Daniels had appeared very suddenly in her life and before she could even wrap her head around the fact that she was on friendly terms with one of her idol crushes, here he was telling her he liked her as more than just a friend. Just what is a girl supposed to do when her love-life is in such a state of disarray?

Even though she was sure Oliver was what and who she wanted, Sam Daniel’s had a way of making her heart waver in ways she could not understand.

“Alex?” Sam’s voice forced her out of her riverie.

“I’m sorry Sam.” She said. “I think am still suffering from a hangover.” She lied. “I rarely drink so….”

Sam got up. “Get up,” He grabbed her hand and pulled her up from the couch.

“What are you doing?” Alex asked.

“We are going to some place where you can clear your head.” He said. “C’mon, let’s go.” He was now leading her towards the door.

“No, Sam-“ She tried to protest.

“I’m not asking you to come with me young lady, am taking you there whether you like it or not.” He said decisively.

Alex laughed. “Is this like that place you took me to the first day we met?” She was now willingly following him out of the apartment.

The moment Sam stepped his foot outside the door, camera’s flashed in his face from all angles. Before Alex could take in what was happening, Sam quickly pulled and aligned her back straight against his back so her face could not be captured.

“How did they get in?” Alex asked.

“They were already in.” A slightly bemused Sam said as he looked around the people taking shots of them. “These are not your regular paparazzi,” he chuckled. “They’re your neighbours.”

“What!?” Alex tried to look but Sam kept her face hidden.

“I’m gonna start counting,” He whispered to her. “But you need to cover your face with this first,” he carefully removed his leather jacket and handed it to her. “I am very sure that the kind that gets paid to do this kind of things are waiting hungrily outside.”

“Then let’s just go back in Sam.” Alex suggested.

“Not a chance.” Sam said. “You can’t ever allow these people to dictate how you live your life. C’mon, 1, 2, 3-“

The two of them ran passed the neighbours to the elevator but when it took long to open, Alex instead pulled Sam towards the stairs on the other side. “This way!” She shouted, unconsciously finding herself enjoying the experience. Despite growing up with a family that was constantly in the spotlight, Alex had never before had any reason to hide from the spotlight. She avoided it quite alright but there was never a time when she ran from it to avoid her picture being taken.

“This is fun!” Alex shouted as they approached the bunch of reporters stationed outside her apartment building.

Sam put his arm around her waist and together they fought their way to his vehicle. He let her in first before going round to the driver’s side of his yellow convertible Bentley. He sped off before the paparazzi could get into their vehicles and drive after them.

With Sam’s jacket over her head, Alex stood up from her seat.

“What the hell are you doing?” A very concerned Sam asked.

But Alex was not listening to him. She leaned against the back of her seat, raised her hands in the air and shouted “Huuuha” to the reporters chasing after them on foot. And then she sat back down. “Oh, that was so much fun! I wonder why I’ve never done this before.”

Sam laughed. “You’re crazy you know that.”

“My doctor seems to think so too.” She joked.

Sam laughed. “Buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” He accelerated the moment the words fell out of his mouth.
***

Mrs Mathilda Russel was in the kitchen preparing dinner when her daughter Cathy stormed through the house sobbing. She went and dropped herself by her father’s feet in the living room. Benson Russel had been watching a game when he was rudely interrupted by his daughter but rather than dismiss her, he laid the remote control on the side and gave her his full attention.

“Why is my baby girl so upset?” He asked her, getting down from the sofa to sit next to her on the floor. He wrapped his arms around her as she continued crying.

Mathilda appeared through the door with a knife in one hand and a green pepper in other. “What’s wrong with my baby?” She rushed over to them.

The moment Cathy heard her mother’s voice, she removed herself from her father’s embrace and went into her mother’s arms, sobbing even louder.

“I’m going to go upstairs and leave the two of you to talk.” Benson knew when he was not needed.

After sobbing for three more minutes, Cathy finally calmed down and brought her mother up to date with the developments in her love life.

“Is that boy crazy?” Mathilda asked. “Why would he pick that girl over you? And you say she’s now with this Sam guy? What do these men see in her?”

“She hasn’t changed in the slightest from the manipulative brat she was years ago.” Cathy sulked. “She makes people pity her and they end up taking her side.”

“Do you want me to talk to Anton?” Mathilda asked.

Cathy almost jumped from the floor where she was still seated. “No mum!” She shouted. “What sort of person will that make me if I send my mother to sort out my issues with my boyfriend?”

“You said it yourself that he’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with you anymore.” The mother of one said. “Maybe he needs an adult like me to remind him that whatever he feels for that little nitwit is nothing but pity. There’s no way it can be love. No sane man would pick another girl over my lovely daughter.”

“I just need to find a way to make him see the truth on his on-“ Cathy said thoughtfully.

Mathilda went quite as well as she made calculations in her head. “I think I have an idea!” She said, standing up from the floor, her eyes dancing about excitedly.

Cathy looked at her mother expectantly. “I trust my mother to take care of such things for me.” She laughed and added, “what are you planning mum?”

***

After Alex had left his place, Oliver decided to drown himself in work to keep from thinking about her and his son Anton. There were a lot of things he was capable of as a man but fighting his son over a woman was not one of them. Therefore, if his heart was not willing to support his resolve to keep from thinking of Alex as a woman, then he hoped his fatherly instincts would be enough to guide him in the right direction.

After five hours of working non-stop in his home studio, Oliver gave up working and went upstairs to his room. The first thing he did was turn on the TV before laying down but before he could even get to his bed, he heard Alex’s full names mentioned on the news and he froze in point to watch.

It appears the 29 year old singer has finally found his Muse if the smile on his face is anything to go by. The presenter was saying as a picture of Alex hiding behind Sam outside her apartment appeared on the screen.

However, we here at DN Network are wondering if Sam’s boss Oliver Cooper who happens to be the young lady’s guardian approves of his newly signed singer dating his daughter…if I can call her that. The presenter continued.

Oliver quickly turned off the TV and threw his back onto the bed, his eyes completely shut. no sooner had he shut his eyes than he realized that if he was to get any sleep that night, he needed something stronger to knock him out. And so he opened his eyes, got out of bed and walked downstairs to the kitchen. It was in the kitchen that Anton found him when he came.

“Why am I not surprised that you’re drinking?” Anton said when he came through the door. He grabbed himself a glass and joined his father at the table.

“What are you doing here?” Oliver asked.

Anton finished pouring himself a drink before answering. “What, am I not welcome here anymore?”

Oliver started to get up. “Am not in the mood for a fight with you tonight.” He said.

Anton touched his hand and looked up at him, a pleading expression on his face. “Dad, sit.” He said.

Oliver sat down after a moment’s hesitation. “I haven’t seen that look in your eyes in years.” He said. “What do you want?”

Anton laughed, amazed that he was still so obvious to his father. Was there anything the old man didn’t know about him?

“Sam,” Anton said. “Do something about that guy dad.”

“What do you mean I do something about him?” Oliver asked. “Is this about Alex?”

“I knew you saw the news.” Anton said. “See, I knew you weren’t really in-love with Alex otherwise you would be out there taking her away from that creep.”

Oliver said nothing in return.

“I know he’s famous and all but dad,” Anton continued. “I love that girl and that guy is stealing her from me.”

Oliver finally looked at his son. “Stealing her from you?” He asked.

“Yes,” Anton candidly answered. “He just came from nowhere and he’s confusing her, using his fame to woo her. If you don’t do something about him, I might end up really losing her.”

“How can you lose her when she was never yours?” Oliver asked him. “And why do you even think I would help you in any way?”

“I knew her before he even knew she existed!” Anton snapped. “And you’re gonna help me because your loyalty should be more to me than your employee. Alex always listens to you. If you tell her that he’s no good for her, she won’t give him the time of day. She trusts you very much.”

“So you want me to lie to her just so you can be with her?” Oliver asked bemusedly. “What makes you think that she might come to you if things between her and Sam don’t work out? Have you forgotten that you hurt her feelings and betrayed her not so long ago?” Oliver reminded his son.

“I can make that up to her dad,” Anton promised. “Unless of course there’s some other reason you wouldn’t want me with her….” He was closely examining his father’s face for a reaction.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Oliver asked and quickly downed the remaining whisky in his glass, lowering his gaze to avoid his son’s piercing and searching look.

“You seem so sure that Alex might not consider me even with Sam out of the picture, why’s that?”

Oliver put his glass down. “That’s not what I said.” He said. “Don’t put words in my mouth. I simply asked a question.”

“Do you really think that Alex is in-love with you like that?”Anton asked.

“Did you come all the way here to ask me such questions?” Oliver asked in a no-nonsense tone. “If you have nothing more to talk to me about, am going to bed.” He picked up his bottle of whisky and glass and stood up.

Anton too got up. “I really love her dad.” He said to his father’s retreating figure, forcing Oliver to come to a stop.

“I know that I’ve been ungrateful all my life and that I don’t deserve her.” Anton continued speaking to his father’s back. “You were right when you said that I am selfish, I admit it, I am a selfish bastard but dad, you’re my dad,” He’s voice was cracking in bits as he fought back his tears.

“…you are the only one I have and I am begging you right now to help me.” Anton continued. “I’m begging you, please.”

Hearing the vulnerability in his son’s voice was all Oliver needed to set his feelings straight. No matter how much Alex made his frozen heart come alive every now and then, it was nothing compared to what he stood to lose if he acted on those feelings. Indeed Anton had begged him for a lot of things in his life but never before had he heard such sincerity in his voice.

Suddenly, Oliver felt guilty for even entertaining the idea of Alex and him. Granted, he had not allowed himself to think about her ever since he became aware of her feelings for him but every now and then he had his moments of weakness.

“It’s late now.” Oliver could not bear turn and look at his son. Both guilt and shame forced him to keep looking ahead. “Get some rest and we’ll talk in the day.” and he quickly walked away from his son.

Anton wiped the tears from his eyes, the sight of his father’s hunched back as he walked away breaking him to the core. He knew he was being selfish in asking him such a favour but what was he supposed to do when he was the only person in the world that could help him win back the love of his life?

“I am sorry dad.” Anton said to himself as Oliver disappeared from sight.

“Me too son.” Oliver said to himself, having heard what his son had whispered. “Me too.” He repeated, his eyes burning red and teary as he raised the bottle to his mouth and gulped down its contents until nothing was left. He flung open the door to his bedroom, stepped inside, shut it behind him and turned, only to raise his hand in the air and flung the empty glass in his hand on the floor.

Anton who was still standing where his father had left him heard the sound of glass breaking and rather than go upstairs to check, he turned and slowly walked out of the house, his face heavy with emotion.

When two straight days passed and Alex had not heard from Oliver, she decided to follow him to the only place she knew he wouldn’t be able to get rid of her that easily; his place of work. Earlier that day she had called Morgan to find out Oliver’s schedule and the assistant had told her that he had been on location at the local Coliseum for two straight days shooting scenes for a documentary for his filming company.

The moment class was done, Alex hailed a cab and went straight to where Oliver was filming. She found Morgan in the lobby of the Coliseum heading out with some of the crew members she could recognize from the company.

“He’s out in the garden,” Morgan informed her after exchanging pleasantries. “Said he needed some fresh air. It’s been a rough day.”

“Why, what happened?” Alex asked.

“Some diva tried to go diva on the crew, boss didn’t take it lightly. He sent her packing and we had to find a replacement asap.” Morgan said.

“Is he alone?”

“Yeah, everyone’s already left but he’ll be spending his nights here till Friday.”

“Okay, thanks Morgan.” Alex said and followed the directions he had given her to the garden where Oliver was.

She spotted him from a distant. It wasn’t that he was wearing the sweater she had gotten him last Christmas that she could recognize him from afar but it was his back and the way he was standing, it was a familiar sight, one she could use to identify him even in her sleep.

When she got closer to him, she tip-toed towards him and covered his eyes with her hands from behind whispering, “guess who?”

Oliver grabbed both her hands and lifted them from his eyes. “I know it’s you Alex,” he said. “I first bought you that fragrance on your 13th birthday and you haven’t changed it since.”

“Dammit,” she said and moved to stand next to him. “You know too much about me Oliver. I don’t think I can ever hide from you.”

“There’s no place you would go where I wouldn’t find you. I know all your hiding places.”

“I also wouldn’t go anywhere I know you wouldn’t be able to find me.” Alex said.

Oliver turned to look at her. “What brings you here?” He asked.

Alex chuckled. “Aren’t you gonna ask how I knew you were here?”

“We both know where Morgan’s loyalty first lies.” Oliver said. “I should think about firing that guy tomorrow.”

Alex laughed. “You haven’t fired him because he’s good at his job. You are a very hard man to please Oliver, I know that all too well.”

“You still haven’t told me what you’re doing here.” He said. “Is this visit concerning your articles with Sam?”

“Ah, you saw those…I figured you did,” she added in a low tone. “Is that why you haven’t called to check up on me in the past two days?”

“I’ve been busy, as you can see.” He answered. “Besides, there’ve been times when the two of us haven’t spoken for weeks. What’s changed now? It’s only been two days.”

“What’s changed now is that you know how I feel about you so it would be nice if you didn’t deliberately forget about my existence.”

“Who said I forgot about your existence?” Oliver asked. You are the hottest trending topic right now so whether I like it or not I am made aware of your existence. How’s Sam doing?”

“Why are you asking me about Sam?” Alex asked. “You’re his boss, shouldn’t you know how your latest star is doing on a daily basis?”

“I think right now you’re the one that’s closer to him than I am. And besides, I haven’t seen him today since I haven’t been to the studio.”

“What do you mean closer to me?” Alex asked. “You of all people should know that you can’t believe stuff that appears in the papers. Sam and I are just friends.”

“Does he think the same thing too?”

Alex hesitated in her response.

“You see,” Oliver said. “You know very well that the tabloids have grounds for speculation, and if you weren’t interested in him like that, you wouldn’t be leading him on the way you’ve been doing.”

“Leading him on?” Alex looked shocked. “Why would you say that I’ve been leading him on?”

“Do you like him?”

“Of course I like him, you’ve always known that! He’s Sam Daniels for pete’s sake!”

“You know I don’t mean it like that. I mean, do you like him as a man? I’m sure he’s already made his feelings known, so what’s your response?”

Alex moved to stand in front of him. “Why are you curious about that?” She asked, closely searching his face. “Should I take this enquiry as you being jealous?” She was now smiling; flattered by the thought of Oliver expressing his feelings even if it was in such form.

“I just want you to think carefully before you choose who you wanna spend the rest of your life with.” Oliver said. “I had a chat with Anton and I know for a fact that he’s genuinely in-love with you. Yes he made a mistake but-”

“Wait,” Alex raised her hand to stop him from talking further. “Are you telling me that we are having this conversation because of Anton?”

“Not necessarily because of Anton,” Oliver said, careful not to offend her any further. “I am mostly concerned about your welfare. I know it can’t be an easy decision choosing between your best friend and an award winning pop star….”

Tears suddenly rolled down Alex’s cheeks, every word from Oliver’s lips sent pangs of pain through her heart. It was hard to hide the disappointment she was feeling.

“Alex-“ Oliver tried to place his hand on her shoulder upon seeing her tears but she shoved his hand away.

“Don’t!” She shouted.

“What did I say?” Oliver asked.

Alex glared at him from her tear-filled eyes. “What did you say?” She said. “Do you think my love troubles have anything to do with either Anton or Sam? Why are you pushing me to other men when you know very well how I feel about you? Don’t I mean anything to you?” She cried.

Oliver tried to put his hands on her shoulders again but she pushed him off again.

“Aren’t you the least bit jealous!?” She asked. “Even a tiny bit?”

“What do you want me to say Alex?” Oliver snapped. “I am trying my best here to do the right thing for you, and for Anton-“

“The right thing?” She asked. “What about your own feelings? Can’t you at least tell me how you feel?”

“My feelings are irrelevant at this point Lexy.”

“Not to me they aren’t!”

“Alex-“

“Just forget it,” Alex said resignedly. “What was I even thinking coming here?” She turned and started walking away.

“Alex wait!” Oliver ran after her but Alex refused to stop. Instead, she started running, one hand holding on to her bag and the other wiping away her tears.

Oliver managed to catch up to her before she could reach the back wall of the building. He grabbed her by her shoulders and forced her to turn around and face him.

“Alex!” He shouted over her sobs.

“If you are that desperate to get me out of your life then I’ll leave.” Alex said in between sobs. “I will leave this place and you will never hear from me again. Is that what you want?”

“Don’t be absurd,” Oliver said. “You are not going to do something that stupid. You are a rational girl and soon you will see that-“

“I don’t wanna listen to this anymore,” she tried to remove his hold on her shoulders but his grip was too firm for her. “Let me go Oliver.” She cried in desperation.

“I don’t want you to leave like this.” He said.

“Then what do you want me to do?” she asked.

“Do you think that if I could get you to do what I wanted you to do that we would be having this conversation?” Oliver asked.

Alex appeared confused, not sure how to interpret his words.

“At my age I don’t get to do what I want.” Oliver explained. “I have to do the right thing and in this case the right thing is not to find myself in a situation where I have to fight my own son over a woman…and this is no ordinary woman, it’s you Alex.”

“What are you trying to tell me?” Alex lifted her head to look up at him, her eyes fixed on his eyes. “Am I hearing you right?”

Oliver sighed heavily, one hand moving to rub his eyes in distress. “I am begging you Alex, help me, help me so that I don’t have to choose between you or Anton, please.” His voice was almost a whisper, his desperation echoing from every part of his body.

In that moment Alex didn’t need to hear Oliver say the words she was dying to hear. He had already said them to her the best way he could and somehow managed to turn the tables and bring the ball back into her court.

Suddenly gripped by the cruel reality of her love, Alex could no longer contain the pain, and down she fell to the ground sobbing uncontrollably.

Oliver had anticipated her getting broken over the reality surrounding their love but watching her break right in front of him made him question every decision he had ever made in his life. Why would something that felt so right in his heart bring so much pain?

Getting down on his knees, Oliver reached for her and wrapped his arms around her as she cried her heart out.

After a few minutes of comforting her on the paved ground, Oliver was helping Alex to her feet when he heard the click of a camera first and then saw a flash across his face. He looked up ahead and locked eyes with a plump middle-aged man with a camera in hand.

“Dammit!” Oliver cussed out loud.

“What’s wrong?” Alex was now on her feet but Oliver’s hands where still on her waist. This time around she heard the camera click and turned in the direction Oliver was looking and got a glimpse of a man running away.

“God dammit!” Oliver repeated, his hands dropping from her waist and rolling into fist balls.

“Do you think he heard our conversation?” Alex asked.

“I’ll be dammed if he didn’t record the whole thing!” Oliver said. “I’ll get Morgan on it.” He took out his phone from his pocket and speed-dialled his PA.

“DC, Coliseum, flash lights ASAP.” Oliver informed his PA. DC was short for Damage Control used between the Business mogul used with his Personal Assistant Morgan, something that mostly came into activation after one of Anton’s escapades except this time around, he was the one that needed rescuing from potential bad publicity.