"Seriously? You wanna kill yourself because of a guy who doesn't even care about you? Jennifer, you have to stop this. 

He was even sincere enough to tell you he wasn't interested. If he was a bad person, he certainly would have taken advantage of you and leave you afterward. So, cheer up." 
Ada, Jennifer's friend said. 

She had stopped by to check on Jennifer, to know why she was absent from work the previous day.

"I want Richard. I don't know, but something keeps telling me he's the one for me. I love him so much, I can't bear to see him with another girl. I mean, Richard has been my best friend since our University days. I want him" Jennifer said.

"Jenny, I think you are obsessed with Richard and it's really affecting you psychologically. Why not give yourself some space?" Ada asked.

"I have, but it doesn't work. I want Richard and I'll do everything possible to get him, period." 

Jennifer stood up and entered the room, leaving Ada in the parlor.

***

Angela stood at the veranda, resting her back on the wall, with her hands folded around her chest.

"Angela"

"Oh, Richard" Angela said, lifting her swollen face up.

"I'm so sorry about your sister. I want you to pull yourself together, I'll do everything possible to make sure she's found. Did you contact the police?"

"Yes we did, but they're demanding for a huge sum of money before they start investigating"

"How much?"

"Fifty thousand naira"

"Okay, you don't have to panic, okay? Your sister is  safe wherever she is. We'll just skip the police. I'll hire private investigators  this evening so that they'll start investigating  first thing tomorrow morning."

"Thanks so much, Richard. Why are you doing this?" Angela curiously asked.

"Because..."

"Richard, Angela, you guys need to hear this" Alex interrupted from inside.

Richard and Angela rushed inside, immediately.

"A strange number called me. The guy who spoke said Padah is in his custody right now, and that she's safe. 

I even spoke with her, but she was crying, telling me she was missing me." 

Mrs Udeme paused to catch up some breath, before she continued, letting the tears that were eagerly waiting in her eyes to fall on their own accord.

"He said he'd release her on one condition" She looked round, from Alex to Richard, then she rested her eyes on Angela.

"Mom, what's the condition" Angela inquired.

"Oh! Abasi mi ooo. Mbo ndid mõ five hundred thousand naira ññõ ibon emi mbõ eyen mi? Where? Why have they decided to punish me like this, what have I done wrong? 

I can barely feed my family. I have never touched a hundred thousand naira before, how then will I invent five hundred thousand naira to give to those evil kidnappers? " Mrs Udeme broke down, sobbing.

"And they don't want the police to be involved. They're threatening to kill Padah if we involve the police. 

And he said he's giving us three days to bring the money, else we won't meet Padah alive" Alex said.

Angela sat beside her mother and patted her gently on her back, letting out the tears she'd been holding.

"Did he tell you where he was?" Richard asked. He was visibly angry and worried.

"No. He said we should let him know when the money is ready, he'll direct us on where to meet him. 

He even said he's watching us, in case we try anything funny." Alex said, worried.

"Mrs Udeme, you have to calm down. Everything will be fine. Your daughter will come back unhurt. Leave everything to me, I'll handle it. I will pay" Richard said.

"You mean you'll pay the money?" Mrs Udeme asked, startled.

"I sure will. Just calm down, okay?" Richard said.

"Abasi mi aya udiong fien. Thank you so much, Richard. You don't know what this means to me. God bless you" Mrs Udeme said, hugging Richard.

"It's okay ma'am."

"Thank you, Richard" Angela said, earnestly.

Instead of replying, Richard looked at Angela deeply, the kind of look that spoke words she was yet to understand.

**
"Jessica, for how long will you keep faking yourself, just to impress your boss? 

For goodness sake, be your self. I'm your roommate, just like a sister to you. We both know that you have small breasts and small ass, if you have to make a man fall for you, you have to be real. 

Stop wearing fake ass and packing foams into your bra to make it look like you have big breasts. 

It'll push them away when they finally find out because you are fake. And I heard your boss doesn't even have time for women."
Mercy said in the morning, when Jessica was dressing up for work. 

She had watched as Jessica packaged herself with fake boobs and ass and was ready to go out.

"Mercy, I've told you so many times, mind your business! I don't intrude in your private business, so don't intrude in mine. 

Once I get Richard, my story will change, cos, I'll be swimming in a pool of money. 

My position will change from secretary to the wife of one of the richest men in Lagos. 

Very soon, Richard will be mine. You'll see. Anyways, have a good day, I'm off to work" Jessica said and walked out.

***

"Have you found out who he is dating? Okay, keep watching him. If you get any  authentic information, let me know"

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