"Don't forget to make call before twenty four hours, that's the rule of a new SIM card" Richard told Angela as they entered the car.

"I sure will. I'd call you first. Thanks for the phone, the SIM card, the airtime, and the outing. It was fun" Angela said.

Richard didn't answer, he just waved it away, as if it was his responsibility to make her happy.

He was quiet all of a sudden. He started brooding about his recent attachment to Angela.

He had met different types of women, but he had never been genuinely happy around them like he was around Angela.

He thought of Maggie, a lady whom he met in a hotel, when he went on a business trip some months back.

She was extremely beautiful. She was tall, dark and slim, his spec.

She liked him instantly and they started dating. But their relationship was very short, because he got to find out that she was a lazy woman.

She didn't know how to cook or wash or even care for the house.

She messed up everywhere and cared only about herself.

He tried changing her, but she was adamant, so, he gave up and broke up.

He later met Christiana, another beautiful lady, but she was always too busy with work, he didn't feel the impact of the relationship, so he quit.

He met Ifeoma, but found out she was after his money, so he left the relationship.

He had met different types of women, fair, dark, tall, short, but none of them made him feel the way he felt with Angela.

He actually had the intention of dating and possibly settling down with Jennifer because he had known and liked her since their University days, but he found out she was too authoritative and always wanted things to be done her own way.

He then made up his mind he wouldn't date again, till only God knows when, because it seemed no woman was perfect enough for him.

**
He turned and looked at Angela who was sitting beside him, engulfed in her own thoughts and wondered what was going on in her mind.

He remembered the first day he met her. He could vividly remember the song she sang, and how melodious her voice was.

He smiled when he remembered she was the reason why he started going to church.

He realized that no matter how much time he spent with her, it seemed not to be enough.

He wanted to be with her all the time, because her presence made him happy.

He tried comparing her to the other women he had dated and realized she was just a different girl entirely.

She had a good home training, a disciplined mother, a humble sister and an amazing voice.

She was very intelligent and naturally beautiful; he had never seen her on makeup before.

He realized that of all the girls he had known, it was only Angela that he had bothered to know her family and even get so familiar with her mother.

**
Angela was bored sitting down in front of Richard's car and watching the road as Richard drove in silence.

She began to sing along with the song that was booming the car. Her voice was almost more melodious than that of the singer.

"I'm so in love with you.... sorry, I meant to say your voice. I love your voice" Richard quickly corrected.

"You've told me that, a million times today" Angela smiled.

"But it's true. You have an amazing voice, even while talking. You should be a singer" He said, turning the wheels into her street.

"Yeah, I've written so many gospel and inspirational songs, but, I'm yet to release them"

"Why? What's stopping you?"

"Hm, nothing... it's not yet time"

"You've got to be kidding me! Do you know how many people that are praying for such a voice so that they can use it to make money?"

"I know, but I'm not prepared" was all Angela could say to cover up the fact that she didn't have money for it.

"I was wondering, do you enjoy my company as much as I enjoy yours?"
He asked, studying her.

"I do. I really do enjoy your company. Sometimes I feel you shouldn't leave" Angela said, before realizing she had said too much.

Richard smiled, as he drove into her compound and parked.

"I like you, Angela" Richard said before opening the door.

Angela froze for a while before her hand was able to move to where the door was, yet, she couldn't open it, she just fiddled it, not knowing what to say.

She liked him too, in fact, it seemed she was in love with him, but she had to hold herself, had to guide her mouth before it betrays her and say out her mind without her permission.

Richard turned to her side and opened the door for her.

They got to the house, only to find Mrs Udeme on the floor, sobbing.

Angela rushed to her side and asked what the problem was.

"Oh Abasi mi di'nyana mien oo. Nsuto idomo idom, enh? What kind of temptation is this?" She lamented.

"Mama, what's wrong?" Richard asked, squatting beside her.

"Angela, who is John to you?" Mrs Udeme asked.

"Mom, I don't know what you are talking about" Angela was rather surprised.

"He called o. He made me speak with Padah. She was crying. My daughter was crying, ew. He said you were dating him and you ran away with his money.

He said if he must release Padah, you have to be a replacement. He wants you in exchange for Padah and he's giving me from now till tomorrow to send you to him, else he'll kill Padah" She continued crying.

Richard stood up in shock. Everything was now clear to him. John decided to punish Angela for running away with his money, by kidnapping her sister, and here he was, almost falling for a gold digger like Angela.

And he even wasted his precious time, trying to help a pretender like her, he thought.

He felt hurt and betrayed. He had concluded that he had found himself a perfect woman, but not knowing she was a wolf in sheep's clothing, he thought bitterly.

Angela was shocked. Hot tears began to fall from her eyes as she struggled to say every word at the same time.

"Mom, you know me too well, I have never done such a thing. I don't even know who John is.

I've never been in a relationship with any guy.
I've never eloped with anybody's money.
Mom, it's a set up, can't you see?"

Richard quietly stood up and made for the door.

"Richard wait. You have to believe me, I'm innocent, I swear to God. It's a set up, please believe me" Angela cried, holding Richard's hand, pleadingly.

She didn't care about the catarrh that was running from her nose into her mouth.

"I need to be alone" Richard said and walked out.

***

Alex was glad Jessica came around. He couldn't stop complimenting her on her beauty.

He didn't really invite her because of the food thing, he just wanted her to be around him.

He was so tempted to touch her, but he felt it'd be too early, so he respected himself and played the good boy.

"Wow! You have a magnificent house. It's so beautiful" Jessica said, after scanning the house.

"Thanks" Alex replied.

"So, when are we beginning the cooking competition?" She asked.

"Haha. Actually, this might sound stupid, but it's true. I actually needed you to come over, I was looking for a way to tell you, so I decided to put the food competition thing, so that you'd come.

We don't need to cook, I know you are a good cook already and I can't doubt it. I just want you to spend some time with me" He said, holding her waist from behind.

"Why?" She asked.

"Because.... because I'm into you. Jessica, I fell in love with you the very first day I set my eyes on you at Richard's office. Please, give me the chance to display my love for you"

Jessica didn't say a word, she ran out of what to say.

Alex spun her around to face him.
She felt uneasy as he began to caress her.

Her heart started to pound, not because he was about to kiss her, but because she was scared he'd get to know she was wearing fake boobs and ass.

Slowly, his hands moved to her face and he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her.

Jessica knew she had to do something fast before he finds out.

"Hmm, Alex, I'm sorry, I can't do this" She tore her mouth away.

"I'm so sorry, I was carried away, please forgive my manners" Alex apologized.

"It's okay. I want to use the restroom" She said, and walked towards the bathroom.

She felt relieved. As as soon as she entered the bathroom, her phone rang, it was Mercy.

"Hey pumpkin, how is it going?" Mercy's voice came through.

"Terrible!" Jessica replied.

"Why, has your prince charming found out you are wearing some fake stuff?" Mercy jokingly asked.

"Hey, stop calling him my prince charming, I already told you I came for money and not love.

He almost found out I was wearing fake boobs and ass, if not that I took permission and entered the toilet, my sister, na so my nyash for don Open"

"Na wa o. Shebi I told you to be real. I warned you not to wear those stuff, but you wouldn't listen.

Your eyes are just on the money, and money alone. Better be careful" Mercy said.

"I am. Once I'm out of here, I'd just go tell him my mom is sick and that I need two hundred thousand naira to treat her urgently" Jessica said, sweetly.

"Your mom that is very healthy and hearty. You want to impose sickness on her by force because of your hunger for money abi? Jessica, are you aware that there's power in the tongue?
What if your mom falls sick now, enh? Even the Bible says..."

"Oh please! Spare me those preaching of yours. You are acting as if you won't enjoy the money as well, when I get it.
Anyways, I have to go. See you later" She ended the call.

Jessica washed her face before heading back to the sitting room.

"Hm, Alex" She began, "I need your help, my..."

"Mother is sick and you need two hundred thousand naira to treat her" Alex interrupted and completed it for her, his eyes on the TV.

"How... how did you know?" She stuttered.

"Because I overheard everything you said in the restroom."
***

"Is she still alive?"

"I think she's dead. We have to dispose of her as soon as possible"

Photo credit: Naijaloadec
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