Mr. Williams paced his sitting room slowly with a wine glass in his hands. His thoughts were in disarray. Thinking back, he was not happy with what he did. When he had planted that camera, he hadn’t expected to find something so pathetic. The couple had portrayed the act of close intimacy when he saw them. The look in his son’s eyes when he stared at his wife was one of longing and desire. It had been so perfect. Little did he know then that it was all a script. That his son could act so perfectly was so unbelievable. Love. He remembered that Andy had mentioned something about being in love with Jessica. ‘He’d better not’ he thought firmly. He knew that that woman was so stunning and that any man would fall senselessly for her. Even he himself was floored when he saw his daughter-in-law, but he later realized that the little wench was using her exquisite beauty for other means. How perfect it is to make Andy fall for her; it would be easier for her to extort money from him. 20 million was nothing but he could not allow a woman to toy with his son’s heart. The poor boy hadn’t been able to get over the death of his love, it would be terrible if he falls in love with the wrong person this time. Mr. Williams drank from his cup slowly. He felt a little guilty for turning the tables, making the girl to bear all the consequences by publicly disgracing her but he had no other option. He didn’t want his family name to get soiled, so he decided to coin a believable lie out of the truth. The mere fact that the contract was already known by an outsider like Sonia, made Mr. Williams know that it was only a matter of time before everyone found out. He had to quickly find a solution and… The door burst open, making Mr. Williams turn instantly. “Where is she?” Andy growled as he stormed the massive sitting room, moving to his father and covering the space with charged long strides. “Where is who?” “Don’t play coy with me dad, I am warning you. Where is Jessica?” Andy barked “She is your contract wife, shouldn’t you know her whereabouts?” Andy’s dad threw back. Andy fisted his hands and gritted his teeth. “Damn it dad” he hit his fist furiously on the bar stand. “If you have done anything to Jessica, I promise not to spare you. What did she do to you to deserve this? I proposed this contract, not her; why can’t you carry out your frustration on me?” He yelled. “Tell me dad” Andy faced the exit and walked towards it. He paused and turned. “If anything happens to Jessica” he breathed and pointed at his dad. “If ‘anything’ should happen to ‘my’ Jessica” he looked like he wanted to say more but just stood, fuming and pointing at his father. He dropped his hand and stalked out ********** ********** Lizzy marched into the small building with anger roaring inside her. She couldn’t recall ever being this angry in her life. Sonia had betrayed their friendship in a very disheartening manner. She had suspected Sonia’s jealousy when she would not stop ranting about how rich Jessica had become but Lizzy had shrugged it off. If she had been told to guess what the quiet Sonia was capable of, not in a thousand years would she assume that Sonia would do something as grievous as this. Lizzy had taken Jessica and the other girls like sisters but she saw Lizzy as more of a sister to her even though Jessica seemed to like quiet Sonia more than everyone else. But even at that, Lizzy had always wanted the best for Jessica. When Lizzy got to the door, she paused for some seconds and took three calming breaths before raising her hand to knock the door but the knock was still harder than she had wanted. She swallowed and waited, hearing nothing. She raised her hand again and pounded the door harder because the lights made him know that the house was not empty. She tapped her right foot restlessly as she waited. “Who is it?” Lizzy heard Sonia’s voice loud and clear, just behind the door and decided to keep quiet. The door opened slightly and Lizzy pushed the door forcefully and it went ajar, making Sonia to stagger backwards. “Lizzy” Sonia gasped, frightened. Lizzy rewarded Sonia with two resounding slaps on each cheek and the sound echoed round the room. A startled cry escaped Sonia’s lips and she forcefully shut her mouth. “You” Lizzy grounded. “How dare you” she said through clenched teeth. Lizzy grabbed Sonia by the neckline of her dress, shaking her like a ragged doll. “Let go” Sonia gasped out. Lizzy laughed and held Sonia’s cloth more firmly in her arms, making Sonia struggle. “And if I don’t, are you going to beat me?” Lizzy laughed the more. “You see bitch, unlike you, I cherish the people I call my friends and I don’t stab them in the back, but when they betray me, like you just did to Jessica, I bounce back. I can squeeze the living daylight out of you” Lizzy shook her head in disgust and pushed Sonia away, leaving her cloth. Sonia tried to regulate her breathing and Lizzy look around her for the first time. She saw travelling bags and packed things. She smiled tightly and glared at Sonia. “There is no peace for the wicked, is there? How perfect of you to destroy someone’s life and run away. Tell me, how much were you paid? Say it Sonia; how much are you worth?” “None of your business. At least we know that Jessica is worth 20 million Naira” Sonia croaked out. “I am very sure you are worth less than that” Lizzy returned, astounded that the filthy girl could still open her mouth. Lizzy’s phone rang, shattering the exchange of glares. She fished out the phone and her anger instantly turned to surprise and anxiety. “Hello Andy” she breathed. “What do you mean?” Lizzy’s frown deepened and Sonia became agitated. “Well, of course she is not with me. I thought you went after her” Lizzy’s voice is high now, with confusion. “Oh my God” she breathed. “Oh my God” Lizzy’s hand dropped and she became blank and pale. Lizzy looked lost for some seconds as she stared at the ground, trying to process what she had just heard. She raised weary eyes and bubbled with anger when she saw what looked like worry on Sonia’s face. What a bitch! “You better pray… You better pray that nothing happens to Jessica. Pray that nothing happens to my friend because if not…” Lizzy advanced towards Sonia, glaring at her until they were just a breath apart. “I will find you. Even if I have to comb the entire planet, I would bet you, and then, you would wish that you never knew Lizzy. You would seek death and you won’t find until you wish you had never been born. I Promise You” Lizzy passed that same message with her eyes and marched out. ********** ********** “Funsho” Mrs. Adams said as she climbed out of the car. “Just accept that you made a mistake, that is all” “Well, I have not done anything wrong. For God’s sake woman, are you blind? Can’t you see what Jessica has put herself into? Not to mention what she has put this family into” Florence shook her head. “I am not saying that she did the right thing, all I am saying is that you should have at least given her the opportunity of defending herself. She is our family and we should believe her above every other person.” “Come on, didn’t you see her eyes? It was obvious that it was the truth.” “But even at that, I won’t blame her terribly. She has suffered a lot in life, I can only imagine her reluctance about giving her heart out again when men had made her life a living nightmare, especially that fool that left her at the altar. She is going through a lot” Funsho sighed and pushed his fingers through his hair. His wife had a point, maybe he had been too hard on Jessica. He could have sought answers in a more private environment. His phone rang and he frowned when he saw the name. ‘Son-in-law’. His wife became anxious when she saw the caller and she pressed the answer button, also putting the phone on speaker. “Hello sir” they heard Andy say and also heard the restlessness in his voice. “Hello Andy, is everything alright?” the question seemed odd since everything was already in disarray. “Not really sir, I just wanted to know if Jessica is with you” The alarm sounded in Funsho’s head. “She is not here” he breathed out. “Where is Jessica?” Florence asked, feeling a cold chill sweep over her. Andy seemed to swallow. “I don’t know ma’am, I have been looking for her but I can’t find her. She seemed to have just vanished” “Oh my God!” Florence squealed. The call ended instantly and Funsho started blaming himself, internally. His wife was right. He had been so tough on Jessica and now, she has gone missing. ********** ********** Andy was frustrated as he drove furiously. It was now very dark and he could hardly see anyone on the street but he could not imagine himself going to sleep when his wife was obviously missing. To crown up his worry, Jessica’s phone was with him. He had seen it on the bed after he had called several times. He could have had the phone tracked down if the phone had been with Jessica. He could not tell if Jessica ran away or if she was abducted. The latter seemed impossible though, as he thought of it. Everything that had happened still seemed like a really bad nightmare and Andy was having a hard time believing that it was reality but someone would pay; someone had to pay for all these. And who else would pay except the very person that started this commotion. He parked outside the building. He had only been there once before the wedding but now, as he marched towards the door ahead, he formed his palms into fists, trying to control himself. When he got to the door, he pounded loudly. When he got no response, he pounded again and the door shook but still he got no response. “Open this damned door Sonia” He roared but still got no response. Andy moved back and with enough strength, kicked the door. The door seemed to be more cooperative as it flung open instantly. He looked around in horror but could not find Sonia. He noticed that the house was in disarray and most of the luggage was not there. There and then, he realized that he had come too late. Sonia had saved herself by running away. He groaned and turned round. He saw two to three people who had come out of their own apartments to confront him. Immediately they saw him, they all seemed to register who he was and they all held their tongues. He swallowed and marched out of the house, entering car in anger and zooming off.