©Aaron A.A

Chris gets out of his car. He walks up the driveway to the front door and rings the doorbell.
After a moment the door is opened by Effe. She is wearing blue jeans and a fetching pink t©p.
She stands just inside the room, looking at him strangely.
No welcoming hvg for me today, my Princess?
She comes towards him, holds his upper arms and presses herself close. He can feel her trembling.
Welcome home, my love. You are late today. How was your day?
Dramatic, to say the least, but seeing you always fills me with joy.
Chris plants a k!sson her right cheek, and then dis£ngages himself.
He walks past her into the brightly-lit living-room.
Your food is re-ady, love. Would you mind if I run along now?
I’m so sorry. You told me your Mom wanted you to help prepare the pastries for a friend’s wedding, right? Oh, forgive me! It completely escaped me.
That’s okay, my darling.
Chris holds her shoulders and stares into her eyes in turn.
You look worried, darling. What’s troubling you?
Effe moves towards him, gr-abs him around the w@!st and hvgs him ti-ghtly. She presses her face into his che-st.
Chris, I love you so much. Just nee-d to tell you that I can’t live without you!
Of course I know that and I love you more. YOU should know that! Is something bugging you, Angel?
I guess sometimes I nee-d the reas-surance, my love.
He smiles at her. She smiles back and turns towards the door.
Wait up, my love. Let me walk you to your car.
They put their arms around each other and walk towards her car, chatting and laughing gently.
He opens the car door for her, and then he gives her a hvge brown envelope. She takes it and looks at him questioningly.
Yes, for our account. I’ve decided to boost up the account, you know, to make our married life stress-free, at least, for the first few years. So, all the money I make shall now go straight to our account.
How much is in here, Chris?
Close to ten thousand Ghana Cedis.
 Chris, darling … what’s going on?
Nothing, my love. Just deposit it in the account tomorrow. I want to show you I love you in every small way, and from now on, we do everything together, love. No secrets, no divisions, just the two of us loving each other, and the world can go to space.
She comes close to him, holds him, reaches up on ti-ptoe and k!sses his cheek.
You don’t know just how happy you’ve made me, my love. Listen, I can’t wait to be married to you. Okay, I’ll deposit this tomorrow. I’ll see you tomorrow evening then.
She backs up, and he waves as she drives out. He closes the gates, waits for several minutes looking at the closed gates.
His face is very distressed. He turns his face up to the skies and breathes de-eply.
Damn you, Jonathan Afful, damn you to hell!
Chris turns throu-gh the entrance of the Sports Club.
He comes across a magnificent lawn tennis court, then a basketball court, all of them bordered by the expansive green of the golf course.
Arrows indicate the Car Park, and Chris swings the car to the park. He finds an empty slot and parks the car and gets out.
He hears a step behind him and turns. Jonathan Afful is standing there looking at him somberly.
He is dressed in a white Puma sports trou-sers and matching T-shi-t. He is wearing a Nike baseball cap, and nice trainers adorned his feet.
Bright Koffie is alre-ady here, Romeo. He is waiting for Effe. I’m a paid member, with access to the t©p floor. You can follow me up, and observe for yourself.
Chris walks slowly towards Afful. His face is filled with contempt and ti-ght anger as he regards the older man.
I’m not here to spy on Effe, you bastard. I’m here to prove to you that she’s an angel, and because of that I’m not hiding from her. I’ll be there when she shows up, and let her explain whatever has turned your evil mind to such mischief, bastard.
That’s up to you. However, if she sees you here, she might panic, and leave or better still make up a lie. So, come upstairs with me. When she is seated, we can both go down and join them. How does that strike you?
Chris hesitates for just a moment.
Lead the way.
Afful takes him up some backdoor stairs to the second floor of the building, where a door opens into a bar and restaurant.
People in various sports outfits are sitting at tables, eating, chatting and drinking.
The bar is long and elaborate, and smartly-dressed waitresses moved among the guests, serving and taking orders.
Mr. Afful leads the way to a table p@rtly hidden by artificial shru-bbery. He indicates a chair to Chris.
Have a seat.
Afful sits down, and reaches for a box of cigarettes on the table.
He lights one, b!ows a cloud of smoke, and then smiles as Chris draws out a chair and sits down.
Mexican cigarettes. My friend gave them to me. Smells like a nun’s pvzzy, but it sure does have a kick! Yeah, a kinda sweet kick.
You imbecile!
Afful laughs ha-rd , gags on the smoke, coughs, and giggles again.
He takes several drags on the cigarette, and then he grinds it out in an ashtray. He pu-lls a covered tray.
Afful uncovers it to reveal two bowls.
One contains two ba-lls of rice, and one filled with palm soup and meat.
I don’t think you want anything to drink, and I don’t think you’re here to eat either, so I’ll eat alone. Before then, see the guy sitting alone below us, at that table near the right corner? That’s Bright Koffie, Effe’s lover.
The man Afful has indicated is dressed in a black suit. He is sitting alone, drinking coffee with some pies.
He is slim and lithe, and very handsome. Chris breathes ha-rd , and a look of pain crosses his face.
Chris’ phone dings a new message. He picks it up, opens up the message inbox and re-ads. It is from Effe:
Chris smiles, shakes his head, and pushes his chair back.
(washing his hands, and his wicked eyes bore into Chris.)
Where are you going to?
(speaks with venom in his voice.)
l@yoff, you lying son-of-a -bit-ch. God forgive me, but the next time you…
Why don’t you shut that big mouth of yours, Romeo? I don’t know what message she s£nt you, but she just walked in. Look for yourself.
Chris looks down, and then he exhales with a shock so great that his legs wo-bble.
With a look of utter pain on his face he coll@pses into his chair again, looking at Effe who walks towards the man called Bright Koffie.
Bright’s face lights up as he gets up and meets her. They hvg, and remain close for some time.
Chris is shaking his head. His hands gr-ab the edge of the table so ti-ghtly that the skin appears stretched.
The Koffie man is holding Effe around the w@!st with one hand, with his face buried in the side of her n£¢k.
Finally they break ap@rt and sit at the table. Effe’s face is filled with happiness.
Afful lights another of his Mexican cigarettes and sits back, watching Chris’ thun-derstruck face with satisfaction.
Effe leans over and picks something off the man’s l@pels, and he lunges forward as if to k!ssher, causing her to sit back sharply and laugh.
Finally she reaches for her bag, and extracts a brown envelope from it. Chris m0@n s audibly.
Oh, no, Effe, oh no, plea-se, plea-se, no!
It is the same brown envelope he has given to her the previous night, and it still contains the money he had given her!
She hands the envelope to the man, and he picks up a briefcase lying beside him and opens it. He sli-ps the brown envelope inside.
That, Romeo, is your money disappearing forever. That girl has no intentions of marrying you. I suspect they are trying to leave the country because I had Koffie tailed. Two days ago he submitted two completed pas-sport forms at the immigration office. My contact at the office tells me one is in the name of Effe Kedem.
Effe now pushes back her chair; she is leaving. Koffie says something and offers his poutedl-ips.
She laughs, bends and k!sses his right cheek. Violently Chris gets out of his chair. In a flash Afful is up too, gr-abbing his arm ti-ghtly.
What the hell do you think you’re gonna do?
(snarling at him viciously.)
Get your damn hands off me!
Hold it, man. You can’t confront her now!
And why the hell not? I want an explanation right now!
To prove what? She will have a million reasons for it. I tell you, they’ve been working together for ages! If you will bide your time, I will give you other evidences, foolproof evidences that will help you prove to her that she’s been cheating on you all this while! If you approach her now, you’ll never know the rest of Effe’s lies.
(voice is tortured)
There’s more?
What you’ve seen is just the faint light of the dawn, Romeo! The harsh rays of the sun will really thrash your heart. If you’ll give me just one week, I’ll open your eyes, but if you confront her now, you b!ow everything ap@rt!
Chris watches with sick eyes as Effe rushes out of the cafe. The Koffie man soon gets up, takes his briefcase, and leaves.
You saw an angel, Romeo, and un-derstandably you fell in love with her. But she is more than a femme fatale, dude. You fell in love with the Devil’s favourite and only daughter. Go home, pl@yher game, pretend everything is okay. In a week I’ll call you, and deliver both of them to you, red-handed. I know you don’t trust me, but if you have the heart, stay with me. Otherwise, you can go home and confront her now. The ball is on your turf now, Romeo. Are you man enough to pl@yit right ?
Chris is g@sping for air. He gets up and rushes drun!kenly away.
Behind him Afful b!ows a cloud of Mexican smoke and chuckles heartily.

To be continued

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