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(Faded Feelings)
Episode 9
Written by Author Nath
The truth is, every relationship is a journey. And no journey is safe. The best you can do is find a companion you care to make the trip with. Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. There’s definitely a dangerous feeling when you’re in love. it’s giving your heart to someone else and knowing that they have control over your feelings.

Nevertheless, Claude’s plan to hold the bull by the horn was such a dangerous one. But is it dangerous to plan too much? Yes, we all need to plan, to have a plan, but life goes on regardless of our plans and we know only too well what happens to so many of the best laid plans of mice and men! Oh, what a world?

His pulled over beside the swimming pool in Chief’s compound. The time was pass eight o’clock in the night. Therefore, the dim light on the poles circulated the pool as usual. Claude stepped down from the car, he stretched his hand for Eniola who had also stepped down. The girl hurried to him and grabbed the hand terrifyingly. Already, Gbenga had been battling with his agbada when he also came down from the car.

“Let’s go.” Claude led the way with Eniola beside him before Gbenga followed.

Meanwhile, Chief Emekus and his wife were in the living room, watching CNN news when the door opened. They directed their eyes there to see Claude entering with Eniola and followed by unknown old man. Three of them didn’t take any other step after closing the door behind them. Nkeiru confusingly glanced at her husband.

“Emeka, what’s going on?” she asked without getting a reply. “Ike, who is the man you just bagged into this house with and what’s Oge’s friend doing with you?” she was still inquisitive, yet nobody answered her.

Cleverly, chief understood the meaning of the drum beaten by their presence, so he began to stand up in his hugeness, furious and dangerous. Oh, he did look like a deity – the perfect balance of danger and charm, he was at the same time fascinating and inaccessible because of his demonstrated flawlessness, and possessing a strength of character that he was dismaying and at the same time utterly attractive in an enticing and forbidden way. At the sight of him alone, his might crippled every morale Claude and Gbenga had and also had their hearts pounding like a morter of a grandmother. That was the state everybody in the living room found themselves except the wife. Already, Eniola’s legs had started quivering by his might and the hazardous silence.

Intricately, Ogechi’s footsteps echoed from the staircase followed by her voice, “Dad, I thought I saw Ike’s car parked outside.” she finally climbed the stairs in her short gown but was shocked at the sight of Claude and Eniola holding hands together. She shook her head and narrowed her vision as she followed the back cushion to her father’s side. “What’s going on here? Eni, kini o jẹ?” she asked in yoruba.

“With the fire on our feet now, someone can easily hit his buttocks on the floor. At least, let’s be offered a seat first.” Gbenga broke the silence. “When the shepherd comes home in peace, the milk is sweet. Visitors’ footfalls are like medicine; they heal the sick.” he added.

“A man accused of stealing a goat should not entertain his visitors with goats meat.” Chief backfired, then the silence and tension returned to the room.

“I just came to clear the air here!” Claude found his voice. “Eniola and I have a history together and she’s the one I love. My name is not Ike neither is it Lolade Olubukola. My name is Claude Pierre, I’m a Hugo which Chief wants to take advantage of by marrying his daughter to me.” he looked at Ogechi. “I’m sorry Oge, Eniola is my heartbeat. We met as teenagers five years ago, but I had to go without saying goodbye due to some complicated reasons which your father is aware…”

“Shut your hole, you fool!!” Chief’s voice did not only interrupt him but startled both him and the spirit in him.

“Oh, my God!” Ogachi gasped, covering her mouth and breathing so fast like one about to lose her breath. She staggered back but her mother caught her, yet she had to break off from her and ran upstairs heartbroken. Eniola wanted to run after her.

“Never you dare!!!” Chief’s voice did not only stop her, but also made her lost her steps, so she fell down. Claude rushed and helped her up. Already, tears had filled her eyes. Chief continued, glaring at Claude. “When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches. I here by strip you off from everything you possess. The way I found you is the way you’re going to leave this house.”

“Chief, take it easy. He’s only a child.” Gbenga interfered. “When you show the moon to a child, it sees only your finger.”

“I see who you are, old man!” he turned to him. “You’re the one beating the drum he is dancing. He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself.” he turned to Claude again. “Drop your car keys!” he ordered and placed a phone on his ear as Claude was doing as he said. “Hello, can you work from home? Good, I want you to have Ike Emeka’s account frozen at the moment.” he brought the phone down, dialed another number and placed it on his ear again. “Hello, can you hear me? Good, I want Ike Emeka’s apartment locked now and never must he show up there again, not even tonight.” he brought down the phone.

Already, Claude had started battling with unseen tears. Eniola held him tightly as her own tears poured like a rain. Even Gbenga couldn’t utter another word. He was speechless.

“Eni, let’s go.” Claude sadly turned.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Chief’s statement brought him back. “I said you’re leaving here the way I found you; just on your boxers alone.” he clarified.

“What?” Gbenga exclaimed. “This is inhumane!”

Claude stared at Chief for some seconds then began to unbuckle his belt, pulled his trousers, shirt and singlet then flung them on the floor. He also removed his leather footwear. Only his underwear rested on his waist. Eniola held him again as both turned and used the exit. Before Gbenga made use of the door too, he turned and said for the last time, “Kill a warrior during skirmishes at home, you will remember him when fighting enemies. If the yam used in sacrifice does not die prematurely, it will eventually germinate.”

“A fish that does not swallow other fishes does not grow bigger. If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits.” Once again, chief backfired with deadly proverbs. “Tell the dancer of your drum that we’re not through yet. This is just the beginning.” he concluded and briskly began to walk upstairs. Gbenga left the house, wondering the type of man chief was…..

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