Acknowledgements I would like to thank everyone who in one way or another helped me complete this book. My biggest appreciation goes to my best friend forever, Glory Shadrack Mbise, who gave me the idea of the ending. I would also like to thank another best friend, Shaban Malik, who I always run to whenever I need to know some 'complicated' law term and Morano Mjinga who did his very best to find me the perfect covers for all my books, not only this one. I would then like to thank these five amazing ladies. They were not only the early readers but my cheerleaders as well: Janeth Jerry Joseph, Asteria Charles Chinguile, Claralisa Namoyo, Stellah Jerry Joseph and Ivetha Msuya. For this book, these are the best five. Thank you for always being there for me.
Glory Shadrack Mbise Your friendship is something I cannot live without.
ONE Completely happiness. There had to be. It was a cool Friday night, just hours before the big day, the day of the wedding. Cleopatra's wedding. Right now, she was surrounded by her best friends, Domina, Harriet and Latifah. Happiness was a wrong word to describe their feelings. It was more than that. It was something indescribable, something over the stars and moon with delight. A night before the big day, the wedding. A pre-wedding ceremony. It was held in the Grande Hall decorated lavishly with lights, flowers and balloons. The stage was of a heart shape whose outline was of roses and red tulips. In fact that was the theme of that night: Roses and Red tulips, everlasting love forever. Everyone was extraordinary happy. Cleopatra scanned around for a bit then she saw what she was looking for, or who she was looking for. Her face brightened even more. It was him. Tevin. That beautiful man. At least to her. Her friends all believed and swore to death that Zidane was hotter, but of course in her eyes, she only saw Tevin. Her love was unmistakable. Tevin was surrounded by his best friends, Zidane, Ochu, Sued, Hans, Sebastian and Harry. He liked them the most. They liked him too. Their trust was no joke. Ochu might have said something that was funny since all of them laughed loudly, the laughter reaching Cleopatra and her friends. She laughed too, not knowing what she was laughing for. Sued raised his glass and they did the same, cheering. "Our bride is lost," Latifah said, meaning well. "Look, its like she's Tevin's mirror, doing all what he does." "He's adorable," Domina said. "I would die for a man like him."
The music changed to one of the girl's favourite song, malaika by Nyakishki. It was obvious that the song was touching everyone in that ceremony. Girls started singing to that song. Tevin automatically looked at Cleopatra. Their eyes met. For a moment there was nothing else that each person saw, than his/her lover. It was obvious they were in love, toes over head in love. Inseparable. Unbreakable. Unimaginable love. A love to die for. Cleopatra waved at him. He waved back. Cleopatra blew him a kiss which he returned lovingly. "Wow," Domina said. "I would die for a man like that." "Aren't you dating Sebastian?" Harriet questioned. Domina sighed. "So much for bringing up the ex-boyfriend at a pre-wedding ceremony." She looked at Harriet and added, "please don't ask for details." "I wanna know the details too," Latifah said. Domina had taken up with Sebastian just a few months ago. Their love had started with so much fun, so much excitement that for a few weeks it was impossible to separate the two. But just like how it started, it ended too badly. Some boredom. Cheating. A rough scandal. It was over. "He is nothing like Tevin," Domina said. "Or Zidane. Or Ochu." Those were the three sensible guys in that group. Well, that was according to the girls. Ochu had been going out with some hot girl Shakira for like ten years now while Zidane had been dating a girl that they all didn't know. They had broken up around the same time Tevin proposed to Cleopatra. No one knew the reason. All they knew was that Zidane was pretty hurt. He didn't want to touch another girl. Not even the beautiful Latifah who was the bridesmaid, who would be opposite Zidane since he was the bestman. Cleopatra had always wished Latifah and Zidane to be together. She was even a bit disappointed when she learnt that Zidane was madly in love with some girl and even had plans of getting married. When they broke up, Cleopatra had a perfect plan to bring the two close. Only she thought her plan was perfect. Zidane had hardly looked at Latifah, not even
at the dance practices or the rehearsal. It was clear that Zidane wasn't interested in Latifah. "Where's Shakira?" Harriet asked. "I haven't seen her for like a year." "She will be here tomorrow," Domina replied. "I heard her talking to Cleo through the phone." "I can't wait to see her," Latifah said. The four girls were dressed in long black and red dresses that showed off their shapes. Cleopatra's eyes were still glued to Tevin's. Finally, the other men noticed too. "Dude," Sued said, "you had spent like all your life together and you are still acting like you just met her five minutes ago." "They are beautiful," Harry said. "The others are single, right?" He turned to Sebastian, "you have officially broken up with Domina, right, because when I approach her I want no jealousy." "Suit yourself," Sebastian replied. "I have my eyes on some hot babe." It was a white lie. Zidane, Ochu and Tevin knew it. The hot babe mentioned did really exist but she was just an ordinary friend, a new secretary of Sebastian's father. He had invited her to the wedding and she had agreed, making Sebastian promise that she wont leave her side since she won't know another soul at the wedding ceremony. "I will have Harriet," Harry said. He then turned to Tevin, "she is single, right?" "Why are you asking me?" Tevin questioned, finally managing to look away from Cleopatra. "Next you will ask about Latifah." "Nah," Harry said. "I wouldn't wanna upset the bride by asking her out before the honeymoon is over." All but Zidane smirked. They knew how desperate Cleopatra was in bringing Zidane and Latifah together. Zidane wasn't interested at all. He loved someone else. And my! She was the most beautiful girl to ever be born on earth. She had a perfect hourglass figure, skin as soft as fur, hair black, like platinum, her lips were the sweetest thing tasted. Even her voice resembled that of an angel.
Zidane loved her to eternity. He wanted to hate her. He wanted to detest her. It was impossible. He fell deeper everyday. He was dying inside. And what made him die a hundred times faster was the sweet betrayal. He still didn't understand what happened. He still couldn't believe it. He still took it as a joke. He was still waiting for the day that she would call to apologize, tell him that it was a horrible mistake. Or that it was an act to test his faith and patience. He loved her. And it hurt that she wasn't there. Him and Tevin had always planned to get married on the same day. This was a proof that some dreams were too good to be true. "What's so bad about her?" Tevin asked. He supported his fiancee too much that it surprised Zidane. Tevin had known Zidane's girlfriend. He had liked her. Zidane had no idea why Tevin wanted Zidane to forget too quickly. "She's beautiful, cheerful, kind," Tevin said. He patted Zidane's shoulder, "come on, man." Tevin, just like Zidane and Ochu knew what was the problem. Ochu had known Zidane's exgirlfriend. It seemed as if Ochu knew a better story concerning the girl's betrayal. Zidane never asked. He believed that she would return. And that was the problem. Latifah wasn't her. Latifah wasn't Renee Armstrong.
TWO The place was a mess. Alnuru hardly believed it. The place had been super clean and neat just a few hours ago. The trauma started when Noela and Rita arrived. They had carried extra clothes, pairs of shoes, make-up and accessories. They had agreed to meet there, dress up and go to the ceremony together. Only then did Alnuru regret her decision. She looked at the clock on the wall. The ceremony had started half an hour ago. They were going to be at least an hour late, something that Alnuru didn't like. And it was all Rita's fault. She was having a bad day and she hated every cloth she tried. She had finally settled with a peach short dress. "But there are no peach roses," Noela told her. "We need to stick to the theme, Rita." Alnuru was already dressed in a long black dress while Noela's dress was pink and black. Both had a rose shaped pendant necklace. "I want that necklace too," Rita cried, acting like a complete baby. "You didn't want it at the store," Noela reminded her. Rita was taking out that dress. Alnuru sighed and sat on the chair. She was surprised that it was empty since her whole room was covered in clothes now. She made a mental note to make Noela and Rita come back to clean up the room. "Everyone there will be beautiful," Rita wailed. "I don't even have a proper dress." It was nobody else's fault but her own. Rita had first said not to be attending the ceremony, then told them that she had so many dresses and had no room for more clothes. It was only after she arrived at Alnuru's and seen her fellows brand new outfits did she start throwing a fit. She was afraid that her friends would be more noticeable. "It was your fault," Noela reminded her. She removed some clothes from the bed and sat down. All eyes were on Rita. "I'm not going," she announced.
Both Noela and Alnuru stood at the same time. "You should have said it before," Noela told her. "Let me call Uber," Alnuru announced, fiddling with her phone. Rita liked it not. She expected them to tell her that it was going to be okay, that they should all go. "Unless you give me fifteen minutes," Rita quickly added. "I need to do my hair, make-up." Alnuru and Noela snorted. They hated Rita already. "Find me a dress, anything, while I do my face," Rita added. She ran to the mirror and took out her make up kit. "I hear there will be so many cool people around," Rita said to lighten up her friends' mood. "And Ally Kiba will be performing tomorrow. Is it like fifteen millions shillings just for him!" "They are rich," Alnuru pointed out, rummaging through the clothes. She held up a pretty cute dress for Noela to see. Noela shook her head so Alnuru threw the cloth aside. "Both families are." It was indeed true. They were talking about the families of Cleopatra and Tevin. They were multi billionaire families, that's why they had gone so far to celebrate the wedding. The parties were endless: dowry ceremony, engagement party, introductory party, send-off, bachelor's parties, kitchen party, henna party, wedding rehearsal, pre-wedding ceremony, the wedding itself and then reception ceremony. The ceremony that they were heading to was the pre-wedding ceremony. The three girls totally agreed that some parties weren't necessary. The two families had gone a bit over the top with the parties as well as the costs. Designer outfits, cakes from the world's best bakeries, hired live band for the performances, etc. It was in deed too much. "How many people are starving," Rita said trying to do her hair. She had already tried so many styles just like how she had rejected every dress she tried. "When was the last time you gave out charity?" Noela asked her. Rita turned sharply to Noela. Noela held up another fancy outfit.
"I don't like it," Rita first said. When Noela threw it aside, she said, "I'm a middle class worker. Not a girlfriend of a guy from a family that when joined their wealth together can buy half of Tanzania." She turned back to the mirror. Noela wanted to say something but a stern look from Alnuru made her change her mind. Rita wasn't a fan of Cleopatra and Cleopatra knew it. Cleopatra wasn't a fan of Rita either. She wasn't going to pretend now that she liked her. She was attending her ceremony just for the sake of it. She claimed it was for the selfies, social media posts and gossips. She didn't even care to buy a little gift for Cleopatra. "How do I look?" Rita asked, turning to look at her friends. Her make-up was heavily done. Her hair was only done in a single plait. Alnuru held up a long black dress. It was plain but very fancy. Noela liked it immediately. "Too simple," Rita said. "Then I'm done," Alnuru said. "I'm calling Uber, whether you are ready or not." "Okay okay," Rita quickly said. She knew Alnuru well once she made up her mind. She had already made them late and Alnuru wasn't liking it. She knew she couldn't go by herself. It was Alnuru who was invited. Rita and Noela were going as her guests. They had no choice but to go with Alnuru.
THREE Renee was ready. She had already called the Uber taxi to come and pick her. She wasn't going to drive tonight. She sighed. Sometimes she thought it wasn't necessary to go. Sometimes she knew she had to go. She took her phone and took a quick selfie which she quickly sent to her friends. Beautiful, Michele quickly texted Renee. Renee didn't doubt the text. She was beautiful and she knew it. You look so hot, Naely texted too. You can easily be mistaken for the bride, Janet texted her along with some emojis. Renee sighed. She wanted to be mistaken for the bride. She wanted to be the most beautiful in that ceremony. She wanted everyone's full attention. Not for competing with the bride, she didn't even know the bride, but for something else. She looked at her reflection on the mirror. She was wearing a micro mini dress of black and red. The top part was red and the bottom was black. It had it's own belt which was drafted black and red. Renee had on leather heeled boots that went all the way to the knees. She had made very beautiful red roses by using ribbons to decorate her boots. Her watch, necklace and earrings were of ruby. Just like Cleopatra and Tevin, she was also from a rich family. Renee sighed again as she took a drafted black and red purse. She opened it. Inside were some neatly folded paper and her credit card. Her phone started ringing. She looked at the number. It was that of the Uber driver which she had requested. It meant that he had already arrived. "Yes," she said answering the call. "Where are you?" the caller, a deep man's voice asked. "I'll be out in three minutes," Renee said and hanged up the call. She quickly took a Bluetooth device which she put on her ear. It was impossible to spot it due to the hairstyle which she did.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror for one last time then left the apartment. She quickly sent a text to Naely. The Uber is here, wish me luck. She got in the elevator which took her to the ground floor in two minutes. It was to her advantage that there were no other people on the elevator. She stepped outside. The Uber taxi was there, a navy blue saloon. She got in just as she received a text. It was Naely. You can do it baby girl. Go show him what you really are made of. Renee bit her lips, caring not to destroy her nude lipstick. Her make up was lightly done and it still made her shine like a shooting star. She made no reply to Naely. It wasn't about that. He can't play you and leave you, Naely texted again. Yes, thought Renee. Not in this situation. Renee was heading to the pre-wedding ceremony. She wasn't going there to support anyone, or just hang out, or just for the sake of selfies and social media gossips. She was going there for a revenge. To surprise the groom with a revenge, a revenge that would destroy his life. She had waited till tonight to do it. She wanted him to hurt bad. She wanted to destroy the ceremony and make sure the wedding would never take place. Few years ago, this could have been her happy day too. It was always planned that Zidane and Tevin would get married on the same day, have the same ceremonies. That dream shattered like a glass. She had been played bad. Renee could feel her eyes filling with tears. She didn't want to cry, not there, not anytime. She claimed she didn't want to destroy her mascara, eye-shadow and eye liner. But it wasn't it. She hurt deep inside. She had been played bad. Only she didn't know the part she really played. She didn't care now. She wanted revenge. And this was it. This was the revenge. A revenge on the pre-wedding ceremony just a few hours away from the real wedding. She smile wickedly. Love could tame the wildest and destroy the sweetest. Renee had been the sweetest. Love made her wicked.
*** "Where the hell is this man?" Biafra asked for like the hundredth time. She was already panicking. She was supposed to deliver the cake an hour after the party started. It was a little weird, but it was instructed that way. She was nervous because it was the first time she was making a cake for such big and important people. It was important for her business. She needed to make a good impression. Just then a RAV4 arrived. Biafra could have already died if the driver had taken a minute longer. Her children helped her get in with the cake. She said goodbye to them and left.
FOUR "Let's go have a seat," Tevin announced. He wasn't tired of standing. He just wanted to bring Zidane and Latifah close. So far, it wasn't working. Zidane was still too full of Renee. Tevin felt as if he needed to do something about it. When asked, he only said that he was doing that to help a dear best friend of his. Many bought the story. Ochu didn't. He knew the story behind. Zidane doubted it a bit. Tevin never cared before, why would he now? They all agreed to go and sit. They took chairs and sat with the girls. Tevin sat next to Cleopatra. The moment he sat down, he was all kisses with his bride till the others shouted at him, all but Zidane. He wasn't jealous. He was just feeling bad beyond words. This was meant to be his big day too. He was supposed to be referred to as the other groom and not the best man. It was wrong. He missed her. He missed Renee. He was almost addicted to her. He needed her. He then regretted ever knowing her, falling in love with her. Her betrayal was his freshest wound, as if it only occurred minutes ago. Zidane found himself sitting next to Latifah while Sebastian sat next to Domina. The other men made sure of that. To them, only Harriet was the single girl. Domina scowled at Sebastian and turned away. Harriet and Latifah giggled. Cleopatra was busy admiring Tevin. He looked more than amazing in his tuxedo suit. She loved him. She had no doubt. She couldn't dream of anything that would bring them apart. They loved each other. It was so obvious, especially from the glances that were constantly thrown their way. The glances were also from the parents of Cleopatra and Tevin. They were seated together, enjoying the night away. "They look so happy," Cleopatra's mum, Ms. Roosevelt said. "I wish them a happy marriage-" "And a big family," added Tevin's mother, Mrs. Hanstone. All laughed. They had always wanted good for their children. Mrs. Hanstone was completely glad that it was Cleopatra that her son was marrying and not any other girl. It was perfect for the family. They needed someone like her. Smart, beautiful, kind, hardworking and of course- rich. She had liked her since the first day Tevin introduced her to the family, Cleopatra Roosevelt, owner of the True Word Insurance Firm. Mrs. Hanstone had decided that Cleopatra was just like
her father, which meant she was just like her to be father-in-law. Already, Dr. Hanstone who was a lecturer at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Finance and Economics and owner of the well known retail supermarket line in the whole of East Africa had plans for her. Near them sat the mother and aunt of Zidane, Mrs. Xumar and Mrs. Clone. The mother was half South American and half South-African. She was a fashion designer, a popular one in African and it was her who designed the dress that Cleopatra wore for the send-off. Zidane's aunt was a lecturer at the University of London teaching music classes. She spoke fluent English and was married to an English man and was the mother of a famous football star, Rooney Clone. Zidane's father was a businessman. "Is there anything wrong with Zidane?" Mrs. Clone asked. "It's like he isn't in the mood for happiness." Mrs. Xumar sighed. Zidane was their only birth child, and a successful one he was. "There's something that happened," Mrs. Xumar explained. "With some girl. To be honest, even I don't know what happened." It was true, she had no idea. For a long time she was looking forward to see her to be daughter-in-law. She had seen photos of her. She had liked her straight away. Beautiful, hot, amazing. She would make a perfect cover for the hottest fashion magazine of the world. She had liked her. She had liked her even more when she learnt that she had taken marketing and modelling. She had her own fashion brand for children and had worked with very cool fashion designers, like the wife of David Beckham, Victoria Beckham. She trained young models too and found them connection worldwide. Most of her young models had managed to participate in the Little Miss World beauty contest and all had entered the top fifteen. Two of them had even won. She had been called in the New York Fashion week a load of times, her and her kids and had managed to be on the cover of the Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Fashion Sense magazines. She had even been the host of Little Miss World once and had been the Chief Judge in Miss South Africa competition and it was that model who had brought the crown to Africa for the first time. Mrs. Xumar had loved her. She wished to meet her now, her and her son together to ask what was the matter. "She was just amazing," she went on. "Though I never met her, but she was the
perfect daughter-in-law. Just Google her, Renee Armstrong, and you will see." Mrs. Clone wasted no time. Her phone was already out and she was 'googling' Renee Armstrong. She gasped when the results were shown. "She's amazing," she cried. "How could your son let her go? Is he okay in the head?" "I don't know," Mrs. Xumar added. "We must ask him," Mrs. Clone advised. "We must ask him." "Yeah," Mrs. Xumar said. "I just wish she was here tonight." They looked around the Grande Hall. They could see many people, all happy. They could see celebrities too: Ally Kiba, Ben Pol, R. Kelly, Zac Efron, etc. All were happy, except their child, Zidane Xumar, one of the owners of XMnA company, a short form for Xumar's Marine and Aviation company. The other owner was Zidane's adopted brother, Zayden. They were born on the same day, but different years, and it was on a visit to the orphanage at only an age of five that they had met Zayden. He had liked Zayden straight away. They played for a long time, Zayden making toy ships while Zidane made toy planes. When it was time to leave, Zidane had cried a lot till he was promised that Zayden would come with them. It only took a week for the foster process to be over, a week which Zidane spent every single day at the orphanage, playing with Zayden. He liked Zayden. He was like his big brother, two years older, smarter, more intelligent, creative. Zayden liked Zidane too. It was only after Zidane met Renee did he come to love someone outside their household. It was for the first time that Zidane put someone first, someone who wasn't Zayden. He had expected Zayden to be angry, but Zayden was more than understanding. He had already met a girl at that time, a beautiful partially Korean model, Sana, who had won Miss Korea 2018 and became forth in Miss World. Mrs. Xumar looked forward to see them both the next day, on the wedding day. "You can't let her go," Mrs. Clone said. "Please. For Zidane's happiness." Mrs. Xumar agreed. And she knew Dr. Xumar and Zayden would agree too.
FIVE Renee got down from the taxi. In front of her was the Grande Hall where the ceremony was taking place. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Renee felt sorry that she was going to destroy the happiness. She paid the driver and moved to the entrance. There were guards at the entrance, looking at the cards and verifying names of the guests with their IPads. Renee liked the system. A pure modernised system. Still she was sorry that she had no other choice but to destroy the moments of pure bliss. She just had to do it. Betrayal was too hurting. Torturing. Murdering. She had to do it, otherwise she would die in grief. Renee quietly walked to the guards. She didn't miss the looks that they were giving her. She wasn't surprised. She was used to the stares. Of course it had made Zidane crazy as hell, but Zidane had also driven her insane for his gorgeous looks that made girls go insane. What made it worse was that she was a one of a hell jealous girl. Maybe it was what added to their break-up. Maybe it was a huge mistake. Maybe she had been wrong. Maybe coming here was a totally wrong idea. She stopped just a few steps away from the guards. Something told her to turn around and run. This was somebody's else special day, not only Tevin's. Maybe she was supposed to seek for another sort of revenge. A message that entered in her phone distracted her. She took out her phone and read the text. It was from Naely. You need to do it. Renee held her breath. Did she really? She walked up to the guards. "Hey," she said, giving them her sweetest smile. "Card," one of the guards said. He was big and looked too serious. His face spelt 'no nonsense'. Renee pretended to check her purse. She then cursed and turned to the guard with wide eyes.
"I think my friend's coming with it," Renee told them. "I totally forgot it on the bed, but let me text her, tell her to not forget the card." The guards looked at her as she was busy with her phone, texting no other but Naely. "Then you need to wait," the other guard said. He was young and cute. Both were dressed in suits. There was a third one just inside the hall. Renee looked like she was about to cry. She definitely thought that she would crash gate this extra expensive party. She wasn't invited. No one had remembered to, not even Zidane. That made her heart clench. She missed him terribly. Renee walked back to the road. She needed another plan. I can't get in, tight security, she texted Naely. I lied that a friend would bring me my card. A few moments later, Naely replied. u have 2 do anything. Like wat? Use ur charms, cwthrt. Jay sayz u lyk de moxt beautiful gal a guy had ever laid eyes on. I wouldn't hav been single. Coz u landed on Assholes. F**k u Naely sent laughing emojis. Renee texted her, u lucky there's no emoji 4 a middle finger. Renee sighed and thought. Maybe she should just call Tevin with a new number and ask to meet him. She knew it wouldn't work, not on his pre-wedding night. Maybe it was a sign that what she was doing was disastrous. It was supposed to be a war between her and him, what would the bride say? Renee told herself that she didn't care. She didn't even know the girl. She couldn't care less.
A RAV4 stopped by and out stepped a middle aged woman, Biafra. She opened the back seat and started struggling with the cake. It was obvious she needed help. Renee didn't have to think twice. She was at Biafra's side in a second. "Excuse me, I'm Renee Armstrong," Renee told her. The introduction was very necessary. She knew, any woman interested in children fashion or The Girl Power Shows will recognise that name. If not, the name Armstrong never went unnoticed. "Oh, you beautiful angel," Biafra said. "Wow, how are you?" "I'm good," Renee replied, "well, sort of." "What's wrong?" Biafra asked, sounding concerned. "I forgot my card," Renee lied, biting her lips. She then sighed. Maybe it wasn't a good idea after all. "You will enter as my guest," Biafra offered. "Wow, thank you," Renee cheered, giving Biafra a hug. Biafra laughed. As the two walked inside the hall, Biafra couldn't help praising Renee. If it weren't for the fact that Renee did look totally like a shooting star, then it would have been for maintaining the relationship with an A-list chart person. Biafra needed it for her business. They were inside the hall now. Renee scanned around. Among all she saw, it was Zidane. It was him. It had been a long time since she last saw him. He was still amazingly beautiful. It was only after she saw him did Renee realize that she really needed him, that she had made a major mistake in betraying him. Maybe her reaction and action had been too harsh. Maybe all she was supposed to do was talk to him first and hear his story too. "Zidane," she whispered. Zidane turned aside, as if he heard his name. Their eyes met. They locked eyes for five endless seconds. Everything else around them seemed to cease. It was only the two of them. There were no words spoken but there was intangible love in the eyes of each person. Love.
Lust. Betrayal. His eyes widened, as if he had seen a ghost. Just then Renee felt a hand on her shoulder. "This way," Biafra was telling her. "Oh sorry," Renee apologized, turning away from him. Her heart was beating fast. She was suddenly terrified. This wasn't supposed to happen. If anything went wrong, she would be seriously lost. "You know him?" Biafra asked. Renee nodded. "Sorry," Biafra said. She understood without an explanation. Renee turned to look at Zidane. His eyes were still stuck on her, following her movements. Renee quickly helped Biafra settling down. After exchanging 'thanks' and contacts, Renee ran to the less crowded spot. It was near the southern washrooms, as were called. People guessed it was because the hall was so huge and had many washrooms that they had t be given names. Renee quickly called Naely. Her fingers were trembling too much she couldn't type in a single word. Naely answered immediately. "What's up?" Naely asked. "I'm in the party," Renee replied. She tried to act calm, but her own voice betrayed her. It had a slight tremble. Naely might have missed it, but not Janet. It was then that Renee realized that she was kept on loudspeaker. "What happened, Renee?" it was Janet's voice asking. "I'm scared," Renee replied. "I wanna run out of here." It was absolutely true. Renee hoped that her friends wouldn't want to know the reason. Her hopes went crashing down. "What happened?" Janet asked firmly. Renee sighed. She didn't want to tell them the truth. "He's very happy," she replied. At least she knew it was true. "What if they
decide to forgive each other and I become the loser girl?" And what would Zidane think of me, she added to herself. "Don't worry," Naely told her. "Everything will be okay. Everything is already set." And she did mean it. It wasn't just a plan made overnight. It had been a project made over a certain period of time.
SIX Michael sat on the counter table. Apart from the few girls who were constantly flirting with him, Michael was alone in that ceremony. He was only waiting for the order. His phone rang. He looked at the caller, a girl named Naely, a friend of his girlfriend, Janet. Michael was invited to that party because he was in the music electrical team. He wasn't the DJ or a musician, but he travelled with the musician making sure that all the equipments were wired correctly and provided back up electrical sources in case of a power down. He had to be in. He was in. And he was used well by the girls. "Yes," he said, receiving the call. "She's in," Naely told him. "She's near the south wing washrooms." "Tell her to go into the males� WC once she sees him go in," Michael told her. "Leave the rest to me." The phone was hung. Michael scanned around to look for Tevin. He saw him soon, with his mates as usual. He spied a bartender heading towards their way. He made quick approximations and knew if he were clever enough, would reach them before the bartender. Leaving his drink, he stood up and headed to Tevin. *** "Is everything okay?" Ochu asked Zidane. Zidane's face was obvious that he had seen something shocking. No one else saw what could have startled Zidane so much. "Nothing," Zidane stammered. He didn't even know what he saw was real or his complete imagination. Was it really her? Renee? "It sure wasn't nothing," Sebastian urged on. "You look like you saw a ghost." "You are the best man," Latifah said. "The least you can do is smile, even fake it. You can't go around sulking every minute. Aren't you not happy that Tevin's getting married? Or jealous? Triggered an old bad memory?"
"Yeah," Domina and Harriet agreed. All the men went silent. No man backed them up. It made the girls a bit curious. "Is everything alright?" Harriet asked. "Yeah," answered Ochu, Hans and Harry together. All turned to Zidane. They were forcing him to say something. "I need a strong drink," he said. His voice shook. Something was terribly wrong. Harriet turned around and signalled the waiter to come. No one paid attention to the man in black trousers and red long sleeved silk shirt walking towards them. Tevin and Cleopatra were the King and Queen of the event which meant they were the attention of everyone in the hall. Any random person would suddenly decide to go up to them. "Are you going to be okay?" Latifah asked, this time worried. "Asks the mother of making conclusions," Zidane said. He was suddenly mean. He felt like having a huge fight. He wanted to be beaten up. He knew the strong drink he requested for would only make things worse. "That's not true," cried Latifah, "I was trying to-" She was interrupted by the voice of Tevin cursing. The bar attender had tripped and a glass of wine had dropped on his chest, pouring all its contents on Tevin's shirt. Cleopatra reacted suddenly, telling off the attender for being so careless and threatening to sue his company. She wanted the ceremony to go with perfection, meaning no silly accidents. Zidane stood up quickly wanting to at least punch the bar attender. He was pulled back by Michael, Tevin and Ochu. "It will come out, okay," Ochu said. "It was an accident," Michael said. "I will go and wash," Tevin said. "I will call for a new shirt," Sebastian told them. Tevin started walking towards the nearest bathroom.
"They have stain remover in the south wing washrooms," Michael lied to him. "They are in spray form. It might take time to dry, so you might as well request for another shirt, but at least the shirt will never come to ruin." Tevin didn't ask twice. He believed Michael's words and headed straight to the south wing washrooms. Michael followed him. From far, Renee saw him. She hid inside the female washroom where she could easily see Tevin or Michael. A moment later, she heard Tevin's and Michael's voices talking and laughing. She waited till the voices disappeared. Renee peeked outside. When she saw no one in sight, she stepped out of the toilet only to see Michael stepping out of the washroom. Michael gave her a thumb up sign. It was it. The sign. Renee inhaled deeply before entering the males' washroom too. As quick as lightning, Michael took out a paper and glue stick and stuck it to the door of the wall. The paper read "OUT OF BOUND". Tevin was bent over the sink. He was only making his shirt worse and himself cold. He cursed the careless bar attender and regretted stopping Zidane from giving him a good punch. Renee stepped in the washroom. Tevin well heard the door opening and closing. He ignored it on purpose. It was only when he glanced at his reflection on the mirror did he see the reflection of another person. It wasn't a man. It was a lady who he last saw four months ago. He had broken up with her, blocked her numbers as well as in social media. He couldn't believe that he was seeing her now, in his pre-wedding ceremony, in the males’ washroom. "Renee," he whispered. "Surprisingly you still remember my name," she said. "What are you doing here?" he demanded, turning around to face her, the beautiful Goddess.
"I was distressed to hear that I wasn't invited," she replied, putting a mock sad face. "You are not invited," he almost shouted. He was scared of people finding them there. "Leave." Renee crossed her arms. She said, "now please, I can destroy this ceremony in an instant. I can start by walking over to-" "You can't blackmail me," he yelled. To be honest, Renee could and they both knew it. He lowered his voice, "what do you want? How much should I pay you?" "Now we are talking," said Renee. "I want a talk with you. Tonight. Only fifteen minutes." Fifteen minutes were too much to talk to a girl in the males’ washroom in his pre-wedding party. It was risky. He didn't want to be caught. He didn't want Cleopatra to ever have a negative feeling about him. "Not today," he pleaded. "This very instant," she said firmly. "Not in here," he said desperately. "I know a perfect place," she offered. "I can't leave this ceremony," he cried, almost. "Yes," Renee told him, "you are. You need to change. You received an emergency." She started walking away, "I'm giving you exactly ten minutes to clear up with your fiancee and friends. I'll be waiting a bit up the road." Tevin rushed to her. He held her arm, looked at the door then quickly removed it. "You can't be doing this," he was begging now. "Please." "Better this sweetheart," she told him, "we are settling it. Otherwise, you will divorce your wife." She was out in a second. Tevin knew he was in big trouble.
SEVEN I'm in trouble, Tevin texted Sebastian and Harry. He didn't want to involve Ochu or Zidane. Come to the south wing WC. He counted the seconds. He had no idea what Renee wanted but he knew well it wouldn't be something good. He knew he had to deal with her otherwise she could destroy his wedding and also his friendship with Zidane and even the others. In a few minutes, he heard the door open and the two men rushed in. "You the one that put up the sign?" Harry questioned. Tevin had no idea what he was talking about. "What is it?" Harry asked. "There's a girl," Tevin said. "I cheated on Cleo with her then ditched her badly. She wants a talk with me." "When?" Harry asked the same time Sebastian asked "why?" "Right now," Tevin answered Harry's question first. "And it's so complicated with her. She can destroy me. I really need to go and listen to her." Sebastian and Harry didn't know why he should bother. They both shook their heads. "She was a side chick," Sebastian said, "she should get the hell over it." "She's just not any side chick," Tevin told them. He hated to tell them the truth. But he needed their help more than anything. "And who is she?" Harry wanted to know. "You love her," Sebastian guessed. "Hell no," Tevin replied making a face. He did love Renee, but not in the way he had told her he did. It was a complete lie. "Then what?" Harry asked. Tevin sighed. He swallowed a lump that was forming on his throat then replied,
"she is the ex of Zidane. It was me that broke them up with my lies. Zidane doesn't know. She doesn't know too. Ochu knows, I think, or knows a part of the story. He never asked me. We never talked about it." Sebastian and Harry almost didn't believe him. They had known him to be a little player here and there, but never did they think that he would go so low as to break the relationship that Zidane cherished the most. Zidane had loved his girl, though they hadn't met her before, but it was obvious with his words and actions. It was the first time Zidane was into a girl. He was truly happy. He had found his soulmate. For once, his heart was home. "You didn't," Sebastian growled. "You didn't effing do it." Harry clenched his fist. He hit the wall just beside Tevin. Harry had always been known as the peaceful one, but that night his anger was off limit. He had put himself in Zidane�s shoes and felt the torture which Zidane must have had gone through. He was mad on Zidane�s behalf. "I had no choice," Tevin said, a total lie. He did have many choices. He chose only one, to lie and hook up with Renee Armstrong, the absolute sweetheart of his best friend, Zidane Xumar. It was an unforgivable mistake and he knew it. For a long time Renee had stayed cool. The least he expected was her turning up on his pre-wedding ceremony. "I tried to talk her out of it," Tevin sobbed now, "she wouldn't listen. Please men, punish me later, I need your help. Please." He was begging, ready to go on his knees. Sebastian and Harry looked at each other and shrugged. The bastard in front of them really needed help. "For Cleopatra," Harry said. He then pulled Sebastian aside. They talked for a period of time that Tevin considered murdering. He was almost relieved when they walked back to him. "Go," Harry said. "Apologize to Cleo that you won't take long, you only going to change and that's it. I will pretend to be going with you, but I will follow at a safe distance." "And don't do anything stupid," Sebastian warned.
"Thanks guys, thank you," Tevin told them. "I and Hans will watch out for the girls," Harry said. "And when this is over, I will beat the hell out of you. You destroyed Zidane's life." He wanted to yell, beat him there on the spot and expose him, but only the fact that it was his pre-wedding ceremony stopped him. He didn't want Cleopatra to be hurt. "Still thank you," Tevin said. Harry led the way out of the washroom. Tevin followed next, Sebastian went last. The three went straight to where they were sitting earlier. Cleopatra looked up excitedly. Zidane was gone. "Where's Zidane?" Tevin, Harry and Sebastian asked together. They looked at one another then pretended to laugh it off. "He said he saw someone and like the wind he left," Latifah replied. Tevin was suddenly worried. He recalled Zidane's expression before that bartender poured wine on his precious expensive shirt. Could he have been surprised by seeing Renee? Why didn't he say anything to him? Weren't they friends, trusted? It felt like mistrust and a little of betrayal before he remembered his own sin. "I'm going back home to change," Tevin said. "The mess is even worse." "Can't someone bring it over?" Cleopatra asked. "And hide in the WC?" Tevin asked, throwing her his most charming smile. Cleopatra smiled. It was his night. Her night. Their night. She loved him. He loved her too. "Half an hour only," Cleopatra told him. "You need to be here." "I will return as soon as possible," Tevin promised her. He went forward to her to offer her a kiss. Cleopatra blushed a bit, not being used of being shown that affection in the presence of thousands of people, two being her parents. "I love you," Cleopatra whispered. "Me too," Tevin replied.
Hans looked from Sebastian to Domina. He smirked then asked, "were you two like this when you were hitting it off?" "Shut up," Domina growled while Sebastian gave Hans a kick. The rest except Cleopatra, Tevin and Harry laughed. Each one hadn't laughed for his/her own reason. For Cleopatra it was probably because she didn't even know what was said since her eyes were stuck hungrily on Tevin. For Tevin it was because he was nervous inside out. Harry didn't find a reason to laugh. "Please, let's leave," Harry said. "I'll take care of him, Princess." He pulled Tevin and they were gone.
EIGHT The first time Zidane set eyes on Renee, he had thought that he saw an angel. The girl he saw was the most beautiful girl he had ever set his eyes on. She was middle height, with the perfect oval shape, big dark eyes with long lashes and perfect trimmed-like eye brows. Her lips were heart shaped, cute and pink. She had long platinum-like hair that was straightened and left loose. She had a perfect hourglass figure and had walked like a model. He came to find out later that she really was a model, only not like Sana, the girlfriend of Zayden. That day, she was wearing a baby blue dress with black belt. She also had on baby blue simple shoes and wore a baby blue hat with black ribbon. Zidane had loved her straight away. A smiling girl walking across the field, talking through the phone, her eyes filled with happiness, her smile so wide, and the laughter reaching him. He loved her straight away. And he needed her. He couldn't think twice. He found himself going to her. He found himself starting a conversation. He found asking her for her contacts, things which he had never done to another girl before. Her laugher was endless. Everything about her was pure bliss. Their friendship started out magical. It was full of love and happiness. They started hanging out together whenever their schedule allowed them too. Soon each person was adjusting his or her schedule to make a free time. They were already very best of friends before they decided to start dating officially, and that was like after three years since they met. Each person had been scared of confessing his or her feelings for the fear of losing the other person. It was Zayden and Sana that finally pushed them together, that was two years ago. It was a day that Zidane had promised never to forget. He was having fun with Zayden just like how Sana was having fun with Renee. Little did the two know that Zayden and Sana had a huge surprise for them. Sana left Renee later just like how Zayden left Zidane. An hour later, Renee received a call from Zayden saying Zidane was into an accident. She left running to the address mentioned only to find no accident but a date set up for them too. It was simply breathtakingly beautiful. Zidane hadn't managed to hide his emotions anymore. That was the most memorable event in his life. He used to remember it with a smile upon his face, now it was with tears in his eyes. That day in the party, it was even worse, but when he thought to have seen
Renee, everything came back to him. Sometime later, he saw her again heading to the exit. He made an excuse and left too. He went to the exit. Renee was walking slowly towards the main road. It was her alright. Zidane knew her in anything, from any angle. He walked faster. Renee sensed someone was following her. She knew it wouldn't be Tevin. He wouldn't have left so quickly. Her heart ceased to beat as her breath quickened. She knew who it was. She stopped walking. She couldn't turn around. She was rooted to the spot with fear. She feared meeting Zidane again. Despite the heat, she shivered, her body suddenly covered with goosebumps. Zidane reached her and stopped. Renee couldn't turn to look at him. Zidane's eyes were stuck on her. He still loved her, and that made him mad with anger. He wasn't supposed to. Her betrayal was of ultimate cruelty. He couldn't love her. He shouldn't wish to speak with her, to hear her defend herself, beg her for an apology. But that was what he needed. He needed her still and that made him insane. How could he love a she-devil like her? She was beautiful. So beautiful, like an angel. But she was a devil in disguise. "Renee," he whispered. Renee seemed to flinch. Like suddenly coming to her senses she started walking away. "We need to talk," Zidane said. He felt weak, stupid and vulnerable. He didn't care. His life had already stopped the moment Renee betrayed his heart. "No," Renee said. "Yes," Zidane said. He hurried after her and held her arm. She turned around and tried to force her way out of Zidane's grip. She couldn't. He was too strong. "You can't avoid me forever." "Who said I was?" questioned Renee. "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you." Zidane let her go. They were obvious lies. Zidane could see it in her eyes too, but still the words hurt more than the betrayal.
"Leave me alone," Renee sobbed. "Please." Zidane went silent. Renee sighed and started walking away. Zidane looked at her for a long time. He wished for Renee to turn around and run back in his arms. He would kiss her. She would cry and beg for forgiveness. He would forgive her. It didn't happen. Renee continued walking till she disappeared from his sight.
NINE "We are late because of you," Alnuru yelled at Rita. They were in a taxi and almost close to the Grande Hall. The taxi driver had already told them that he won't be able of driving all the way to the hall since the road was blocked but for only special guests. He had to drop them at the main road. The three ladies got down and Rita sulkily paid the driver. That was her punishment, to make her pay for the taxi charges. Rita wasn't happy. Only she didn't argue. She had no power to argue. The three girls started walking quickly towards the Grande Hall. There was a girl coming their way, seeming to leave while they were just arriving. �I wonder if the party is boring,� Rita spitefully said, her eyes fixed on the approaching girl. "I like how she walks," Noela commented. She wasn't wrong to like the approaching girl's motion. Like a model she was. "Maybe she's a celebrity," Alnuru said. �She looks familiar.� All agreed to it. She really was familiar. They watched her as she was approaching. Super hot. A perfect hourglass figure. Beautiful. Even her hair was made for perfection. Those eyes. Lips. Trendy. Glamorous. "Wow," whispered Noela. They had forgotten that they were in a hurry. They slowed down to watch her walk past them. They even turned around to watch her walking away. "She's-" Alnuru started, "I can't find the perfect words for it." No one could. She was a girl of another level, maybe ten levels ahead of time. While others waited to die and be passed to heaven and see it's indescribable beauty, she had already gone there million times and possessed its beauty. They watched her. Not even for a second did she show any sign that she knew she was being watched in awe. It was completely natural to her. "Wow," Noela said again.
Rita watched Renee. She already didn't like her. She was beautiful too. She didn't like people who were more beautiful than her, and a lot of them were. Just then they heard a car approaching. Rita recognized the car. "It's Tevin's," said Rita. "Can't be," Noela told her. Turning away from Renee. "He's the man of the party." The car passed them. The three girls tried hard to see the driver. All were shocked when they did. It was Tevin himself. "What the-" Rita started. She couldn't understand why a man would leave his own party in the middle of it. They heard the car stop a few meters behind them. They all turned around. That beautiful girl they just passed had gotten in the car. The car quickly left. "They know each other," Noela stated. "Not surprised." "He's doing nothing but cheating," Rita said. "He's not," Alnuru said. "It's his day-" "Exactly what makes him a real dirty player," Rita interrupted her. "Cheating before his wedding day." "Stop it, Rita," Noela told her. "We don't know. They might be related." "Over my dead body," said Rita. "You know what," Alnuru said as another car passed them. Rita recognized it as Harry's. "Rita, you are not coming with us." "What?" exclaimed Rita. "Not till you promise to keep your bloody mouth shut," Noela told her. "You can't just go around speaking your own thoughts out, Rita. We don�t know who the hell she is and how they are related." �Wait,� Noela cried out loud. �It�s Renee Armstrong, that model.� �Wow,� muttered Rita like she just hadn�t heard Alnuru, �he really knows some super cool girls, uh?”
�You really are trying me, Rita,� Alnuru told them. Rita pretended to laugh. "It's only between us, girls," Rita she said to them. They didn't want to believe her. They also wanted to believe her. They knew their friend Rita well. They knew one day, sometime she would blurt the little one thing she saw with super exaggeration and her own words which were enough to fill a whole book series. Only they didn't know when that time was. The three girls went quietly to the Grande Hall. They showed their invitation card at the entrance and walked in. At first, they were enchanted by its decorations. After spending a good time just starring around and taking a million photos, they took their drinks and found a comfortable spot to sit. Rita's eyes were scanning around, like a little predator looking for prey. Her eyes settled on Cleopatra, surrounded with her friends and the friends of Tevin. Rita smiled a bit, a smile which disappeared the moment she caught Alnuru looking at her with a frown. *** Husna worked at the Van Beach hotel. It wasn't a five star hotel, but it was beautiful and attracted the attention of many travelers. On that particular night, she had a night shift. She was already bored to death and decided to pass time by watching a comedy series on YouTube. She was halfway through the forth episode when her phone rang. The caller was Naely. For the past month, she had watched Naely and others plotting Tevin's revenge. Somehow Husna was asked to be involved. At first she said no, but once she laid her eyes on the victim, Renee, she agreed to help. Renee was a girl who couldn't be refused so easily. She wondered how Tevin had managed to hurt her. Husna paused the episode and answered the call. "Yes," said Husna. "It's all falling into the plan," Naely told her, "so please proceed." "Okay," Husna said. The phone was hang up. Husna took her pouch which was next to the laptop and opened it. She took out a small camera and a tiny microphone. She stood up, left
the counter and went straight to one of the bedrooms. She carefully placed the camera and microphone on a secret spot where a perfect view of the room could be taken. She then quietly exited the room.
TEN "Drive to Van Beach hotel," Renee told Tevin. "Why would I go to a hotel on my pre-wedding night?" Tevin asked her. "Why would you cheat on her," Renee asked back, "if you truly respected her?" Tevin made no reply. It was a battle that he would clearly lose. He had done the hugest mistake of seducing Renee. For a while he had thought that he was going to get away with it. He had been wrong. Renee knew how to get him. She knew well that on a day like this, he would do anything to save his marriage. No one spoke for some time. Renee was busy with her phone, watching funny video clips. She was laughing. That laughter, like a thousand melodious bells. It was no wonder Zidane who was immune to girls' charms fell for her. "How much do you want?" Tevin asked her, as they approached the hotel. "Me no want your money," Renee replied then she was bursting in laughter again. She turned to Tevin and said, "this is so funny. You really should subscribe to-" "Shut up, Renee," he suddenly said. Renee laughter disappeared in an instant. She watched him like he had gone mad, then she returned her attention to her phone and started laughing all over again. Tevin found an empty spot to park. "What then?" he wanted to know. Renee stepped out of the car. "Follow me," she said. She started walking towards the hotel building. Tevin got out of the car, locking it. He guessed that there would be people inside, kept ready to beat him up. He didn't care what happened tonight, as long as he got out of the shit he himself created and get married the next day. "What is your game?" he asked Renee.
Renee kept on walking. He followed her to the building. Renee had stopped at the reception. "A room please," Renee said to the receptionist. The receptionist was no other but Husna. Tevin tried to stop her. "You can't be serious," he almost shouted to her. "I'm somebody's fiance." He turned to the receptionist and added, "don't! I think she has bad intentions." He was now getting nervous. Why would a girl he betrayed suddenly turn up and take him to the hotel? "Room please," Renee repeated calmly. The receptionist handed them a key to room number 307. The �3� at the beginning meant it was on the third floor. Renee made the payment, completely ignoring Tevin who was pacing around and demanding what her game was. Renee turned to him. She almost felt sorry for him. He did look like a poor helpless kidnapped baby, so cute and sad, crying for his mama. "We can play this the easy way or the hard way," Renee told him. A threat. She might not have really meant what she said but Tevin wasn't taking any risks. "At least tell me what you want," Tevin begged. Renee walked toward the elevator. Tevin, like a poor cub, followed. They stepped out of the elevator on the third floor and went straight to the room she rented. She stepped inside. Tevin did the same and quickly locked the door. The room had a Queen sized bed, a two settee sofa, a glass table, a refrigerator, a TV and a telephone for room service. "You want to sleep with me?" asked Tevin. Renee switched on the TV. "Blackmail me into giving you money?" Tevin went on with his questions. Renee put on the AC. She was now moving to the telephone.
"How much do you bloody want?" he was becoming impatient now. Renee dialed for room service to order a drink. She turned to Tevin and asked what he wanted. "I want you to disappear and leave me alone," Tevin whined. Renee turned back to the phone and ordered Red Robertson wine for both of them. "You know I can call the police," Tevin threatened her. "Then you have to explain why you are in here," Renee told him going to sit on the couch. "You can't lie. The corridor is filled with CCTV cameras. I'm also a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, don't you dare forget that." Tevin sat on the couch. It was because he wasn't sure if his legs could carry him anymore. He could fall down any moment. There was a knock on the door. Tevin's heart leapt along with his body. He found himself running to the bathroom to hide. Renee burst out laughing. She stood up and went to the door. She opened it. It was only room service coming with the drinks. Renee received them, placed them on the table then closed the door. Tevin walked out of the washroom, still shaking a bit. Renee observed him as his body fell back on the couch. She had never seen him so weak. He was always strong and confident, but that night, Renee had managed to break those walls. She left him so helpless. She almost laughed again when a thought hit her. It was for that bride. Not Renee. Tevin was terrified for that bride. He loved that bride. Renee sat down, this time on the bed. "I want you to make a confession," Renee spoke slowly. "To who?" Tevin asked. "Cleopatra and Zidane," Renee said. Zidane wasn't a part of the plan, but after an encounter with him earlier, she put him in the plan. He had acted weird. He had acted as if he still loved her. Renee hadn't expected to see him and she had prayed not to, but she did and now she was going crazy all over again. Renee had never hooked up with Tevin for love, but out of sheer anger for Zidane. When she saw him today, she regretted ever
making that decision. She blamed herself for ever not being calm and confront him first. She regretted why she never gave him the chance of hearing his side of the story. She hated herself for letting him go like that. It was absolutely awful. Renee knew that she would never be forgiven by him, even if he was the problem at the start. "Why on earth would I do that?" Tevin almost yelled. Renee couldn't miss how his voice shook slightly. She moved forward to pour herself a drink. She was torturing him on purpose. It was working like hell. Tevin wanted to jump up, slap the drink away from Renee's hand, shake her till she passed out. He had suddenly realized how Renee was the biggest obstacle of his marriage. He suddenly wanted her gone. Renee took a sip of her drink. "I'm getting married tomorrow," Tevin cried. "I know," Renee said calmly, taking another sip. "I can do it after the honeymoon," he pleaded. "I would have come after the honeymoon," Renee pointed out. "Why should I do it anyway?" Tevin asked. He suddenly felt brave. "I played you and left you, get over it. You aren't the only broken hearted girl out there." Tevin knew he was playing with fire. The words, to Renee did burn like fire. It only made her hate Tevin even more. She kept her expression the same. "I know," she said. "And you won't be the only man who will experience a wedding disaster." Renee pretended to stand up. "No," Tevin was by her side pulling her back. "You can't do that. We spent almost a billion." "I know," Renee said. "So many parties. True love via money eh." "You don't have any proof about us," Tevin said. "I can talk to my bride right now saying some hater girl is making up stuffs to destroy our wedding." "Wow," Renee said. "I am pregnant, with your child."
The news took him by surprise. Renee opened her purse and took out the documents she was carrying and gave them to Tevin. Tevin received them. He read them. They were DNA results of Renee's child. The child really was his. A perfect proof of his actions.
ELEVEN The music was loud but very good. The music team was doing a very good job. They had first done a background check to determine what type of music the couple and their closest people liked. Cleopatra was really enjoying the night. Everything was perfect and she would soon be a Mrs. Cleopatra Hanstone soon. She had always loved Tevin. There was a time when their love was upside down and everyone had thought that they would break up. They didn't. They came back together stronger than ever. Tevin had become closer than ever, possessive and protective. Renee didn't mind. To her it was because of love. She thought that he was doing that because he was afraid of losing her. Little did she know that it was being triggered by something else. The mistake that he did. The huge mistake of confusing Zidane with someone else. He seduced and hooked up with Renee for revenge. By the time he realized the mistake that he did, it was too late. He couldn't do anything to save his friend's relationship. He was scared of being discovered. He was scared of the same thing happening to him. He became closer than ever to Cleopatra. A few hours ago, with his wedding the next day, he thought everything was over. He was going to forget the past. He wasn't going to live with guilt anymore though it still hurt him. He was going to try harder in making his best friend move on. Those thoughts shattered the moment he saw Renee. "He's taking long," Cleopatra murmured. "Traffic," Sebastian quickly said. Then he started talking about something else, clearly avoiding the topic about Cleopatra. It was hard, since Cleopatra, filled with excitement for him always managed to bring the subject back to him. "You know they are releasing Mission Impossible 7," Sebastian said. "We should all go to the cinema, together." Then he turned to the others and asked, "tell me your favorite movies." Everyone started mentioning their favourite movies until Cleopatra started scanning the Grande Hall for signs of Tevin. When she was asked, about her opinion for a subject she heard not well, she replied, "I have seen all of the Mission Impossible movies, with Tevin." She paused and added, "I wonder what's taking him long. Somebody call him." Her friends wanted to say something, but Sebastian quickly went on with their
conversation as if he hadn't heard her. The others followed suit. Cleopatra frowned. "Where's Zidane?" she suddenly asked. Everyone went quiet. Zidane's hadn't returned yet. "Probably escorted Tevin too," Sebastian said, hoping it was true. He hoped that Zidane hadn't seen Renee and caused any sort of a scene. He wanted things to go smoothly for Cleopatra's sake only, and Zidane too. Both didn't deserve any hurt or torture Zidane was going through. *** Rita was watching Cleopatra. Inside she was happy that Tevin had left with a girl. She didn't care who the girl really was to Tevin and didn't want to know. She only thought of one thing, using that piece of information for her own evil deeds. "We should go and say hi," Noela suggested. Rita was more than happy to hear that. For the first time she was happy about going to greet Cleopatra. Alnuru turned to Rita and said, "you are not coming." "What?" Rita asked. "That's just not fair." "Promise you will keep that mouth of yours shut," Noela told Rita. "I did," Rita said, knowing well she couldn't. Alnuru and Noela knew it too. Rita wouldn't be able of keeping quiet. "Sorry, but she isn't," Alnuru said. "let's go, Noela." "She will think bad of me," Rita said. "She already is," Alnuru reminded her. "She will think worse," Rita begged them, "that I'm not happy for her." "Better that," Alnuru told her, "than what you can purposely blurt out." Rita pretended to be hurt. Alnuru ignored her. She stood up and urged Noela to
stand up too. When Rita wanted to stand up, Alnuru gave her a murdering glare. Rita sat back down immediately. The two girls walked away. Rita smiled wickedly. She also stood up and walked towards Cleopatra using another way. She stopped a good distance away. She watched them walking over to Cleopatra who smiled up at them. She watched them talking to them. The men said something, all laughed. Then Alnuru said something else and they laughed again. Then they were leaving. One of the men, Hans, ran to them exchanging words with Alnuru while others smirked at him. Hans ignored them. Noela laughed. Hans took out his phone and gave it to Alnuru. Alnuru took it and typed in something which Rita definitely knew was Alnuru�s number. After that they started walking back. Rita made her way towards Cleopatra. "Hello," she greeted. "Hello," she was being replied by everyone but Cleopatra. She looked at Rita with a frown. "Sit down will you, beautiful," said Sebastian. He said that to make Domina jealous which he didn't know why. Domina's heart clenched at hearing another girl who wasn't Harriet, Cleopatra or Latifah, being referred to as beautiful by Sebastian. She didn't know why though. Rita took a seat, ignoring the looks she got from the girls. "What do you want, Rita?" Latifah asked. "Who gave you the invitation?" Harriet wanted to know. "Girls," Sebastian questioned, "is there anything wrong?" "She is what's wrong," Latifah told him. "Really," Rita said, feeling more wicked than ever, "then where is your fiancee if I am what's wrong? How is he not here in an important event like this?" "He went to change," Domina snapped at her. "And don't you dare talk about him." "Mh," Rita said crossing her arms, "just like in movies. Someone spills a drink purposely on someone to make him or her leave." Rita had no idea that she had
just hit on the perfect lines. "Shut up," Cleopatra snapped. "Go away," Hans told Rita. Rita stood up chuckling. It was only the beginning. "What the hell are you doing here?" Rita heard Alnuru question angrily. Rita turned to look at Alnuru and Noela. They were angrily glaring at her. "Oh my," she said in an obvious sad voice, "did I just blurt out that the groom is" "Shut up," Noela and Alnuru shouted at once. The shout attracted the attention of the people. "Cheating-" Rita went on as Noela and Alnuru started pulling her away. "As we speak," Rita finished. She struggled and turned around, eyes of spite on Cleopatra. Cleopatra clenched her fists, her teeth gritted. "Ignore her," Latifah told Cleopatra. "Yes, please," Sebastian quickly added. "I wish," Cleopatra said, turning away from Rita and looking at Sebastian. "Call Tevin right now."
TWELVE The vibration of a phone in his pocket took Tevin away from his shock. With trembling hands, he took out his phone. The caller ID made him tremble even more. It was Sebastian calling. This meant it was either very bad news or just normal news, no good news. He debated whether to answer or ignore. "Your fiancee calling?" Renee asked him as she took more sips of her drink. She was enjoying him and loving it. That would be even worse. He couldn't answer the phone which meant she would be more worried. But if he answered the phone, he would have no choice but lie to her, which to him had become a terrible sin, unless to save a life, which was similar to the situation he was. The only difference was that there were four lives to save: his, Renee's, Zidane's and Harry's. "Afraid to answer?" Renee asked again. Tevin sighed and answered the phone, "yes, mate." "It's Cleopatra," he heard Cleopatra say. Though he was expecting it, it still made his heart almost stop. Cleopatra had never used her own name before unless she was very very very angry, like that time their relationship was on a string. She used to repeat it all over again, that he should call her Cleopatra and not any other name not given by her parents. He had been scared, and angry, filled with desire to revenge which led him to do the biggest mistake of his life, the mistake which he would regret till the day that he die. He said with forced enthusiasm, "my bride, my baby girl, my-" "Where are you now?" Cleopatra interrupted him and asked. Tevin thought of what to answer. He couldn't tell her the truth. He started getting up and rushing to the door. Behind her Renee laughed so loudly, a laughter which was sure to be heard by Cleopatra. "It's true," he heard Cleopatra shriek. "No, it's not," Tevin said opening the door. Then he remembered he had to act all innocent until he knew what Cleopatra meant. He knew it won't be an easy thing. He had to tell her somehow. "What are you talking about? I'm at home.
Somebody poured the filthy drink on my shirt and I can't bloody find a perfect match and what do you say?" He was almost yelling. It was only because he was desperate, crying maybe and filled with the need of saving his relationship. "It's our effing wedding eve, and I love you, Cleopatra Roosevelt." "Oh baby I'm sorry," Cleopatra suddenly apologized, her voice meek and filled with sorry. "I'm really sorry. Please come, I miss you already." "It's okay," Tevin said. He was rushing outside towards Harry. He found him leaning on his car. "See you in a few minutes, honey." The phone was hung. "What's happened?" Harry asked him. "It was Cleopatra," Tevin replied. "I think somebody told her that I left with a girl and not you." "Shit," Harry said. "And what about that girl, Zidane's love." "Don't call her that," Tevin snapped. He didn't want to be reminded that Renee was Zidane's true love, that he had destroyed a piece of his heart. "Why?" Harry asked, his voice filled with anger, "touched a nerve? Reminded a sin?" If it were any other time, Tevin would have punched him right on the face. "She's pregnant," Tevin stated. "And what do you suggest?" Harry asked. "I don't know," Tevin said. He looked lost. "She doesn't want money." "What does she want?" Harry wanted to know. "To stop the wedding," Tevin replied. "You deserve it," Harry snapped. "Don't you dare forget it." "Okay, what do I do?" Tevin asked. "I wish I could force her to do an abortion-" "I will kill you before you dare do it," Harry told him.
"I have no choice," Tevin said, "that way I can even convince Zidane to get back with her. It will be harder to get them back together with a child of mine." Harry thought about it for a while. His phone rang. He took it out, it was Sebastian. Harry received the call. "Hello," Harry said. "Can you see Tevin?" Sebastian asked. "I'm with him." Harry told him. "Is it over with that girl?" "You wish. She's pregnant." "What? How do we know it's someone's else child, like Zidane himself?" Harry looked at Tevin. "There are DNA results," Tevin replied. "How did she get your DNA?" Sebastian asked. Tevin hadn't thought of it before. Renee might be lying. "And how do we know the documents aren't forged?" Sebastian asked again. Tevin had no answers. "How do I get out of this mess, Seb?" Tevin asked. "I suggested forcing her to do an abortion." "Like abortion tabs?" Sebastian questioned. "Do you have them?" "How do we make her drink them?" Tevin asked. Harry thought he was imagining all of this. �Wait,� he said, �you guys are not really planning to? Tell me you are just joking and not serious.� �So you think she�s joking?� Tevin almost yelled at Harry, �about stopping my wedding.� �We can negotiate,� Harry said. �I still think we can. She can�t be that bad.�
�Shut up,� Tevin told him, �and listen to Seb who at least have ideas to save my big day.� To Sebastian, he asked, �how do we make her take the tabs?� "She will, with a knife on her neck," Sebastian replied. "Tell me where you are? And how old pregnant is she?" "Four months," Tevin answered the last question first. "We are at Van Beach hotel." "I'm on my way," Sebastian replied. "We force her to drink, then take her phone and lock her inside." Tevin smiled as he hung up the call. He thought of how perfect the plan was. He even planned to threaten to destroy her if she dared disturb him in the future. "Aren't you feeling bad about killing your own innocent blood?" Harry asked him, softly this time. "It's for Zidane," Tevin lied. He knew Harry would hate him more if he said another reason, like he didn't care about a child who wasn't Cleopatra's. It wasn't true though. He loved children, and he felt terrible about losing his own blood. He didn't show it though. He hid his true feelings with the gravest face ever. He was doing this to save his wedding, to save Cleopatra�s love for him. "Can't you just lock her inside till after the wedding?" Harry asked. He had a soft heart inside, not like Sebastian. The only person who did manage to sooth Sebastian had always been Domina. Now they had broken up, Sebastian was back to being that wild cold hearted man. "No," Tevin answered in pretense coldness. "You can make a deal," Harry tried desperately, "that you can help her convince Zidane that the child is his." "He will want a DNA test," Tevin told him. "We can't risk it." Harry went quiet. He didn't like it. He took out his phone and texted Ochu, who was a doctor. Harry: Can you keep a secret? Ochu: Yes, what's happening?
Harry: After Tevin returns, promise to have a private word with me, but Seb, Harry n Tev shouldn't know Ochu: OK Harry sighed. He liked Ochu for one particular reason. He always could guess the mood of people and urgency that he never asked questions when a person didn't want to be asked. Harry sent another message to Ochu. Harry: plz Ochu. Ochu: worry not. His real name was Othman but everyone, even his employers called him Ochu.
THIRTEEN Everyone was curious to know what was up, even the parents of Cleopatra, Tevin and Zidane. They heard the shouts vaguely and wanted to know what was amiss. Sebastian had shortly told them that Rita was a jealous person of Cleopatra. He didn't tell them the reasons. Alnuru and Noela had furiously pulled Rita to the nearest washroom. They pushed her to the floor and started yelling at her. Rita was quiet all the time. Inside she was happy, but not that happy. She felt as if she had done a very little thing. She felt a wicked happiness destroying Cleopatra's happiness. She would be super delighted when the wedding got cancelled and all their money go into trash, unused. "When you walk out of this washroom," Noela yelled, "go straight home okay. I don't want to ever lay my eyes on you. I hate you." "Remove my fucking dress," Alnuru ordered. "Now." "What?" Rita asked, "walk out naked? No." "It's my dress, Rita," Alnuru spat. "You are gonna put filth on it. Remove it." "Let her go," Noela told Alnuru. "I know a perfect punishment." She took Alnuru's hand and pulled her out of the washroom. Rita stood up, walked over to the sink and let out a laugh. She had finally managed to shake Cleopatra a bit. Cleopatra, so called Queen of Egypt. She hated her with all her breath. Cleopatra was everything Rita was not: more beautiful, the daughter of two rich parents, successful, the fiancee of one of the hottest, richest, most popular, rich and successful man. She hated Cleopatra for everything she was. She was happy for this little reason to destroy her happiness. Three girls entered the toilet. Rita pretended to open the tap. "This is bad," Rita said out loud. "What did I ever do wrong? Me and my big mouth." The three girls looked at her questioning. The first had gone to the mirror and started fixing her make-up. The second was taking selfies while the third entered the toilet. "Oh, sorry, I must have gone crazy," Rita said.
"Not everyone who talks to herself is crazy," the one taking selfies said. "I think I just got a new WhatsApp status." "Thanks for understanding," Rita said throwing her a small smile which she returned. "Is everything cool outside? I hate walking out of here." "Kinda cool," the same girl replied. "What was the fuss about?" the girl redoing her make-up asked. The third girl stepped out of the toilet and started straightening her dress. "You won't believe me," Rita replied in the most innocent and sad voice she could manage. "Anything," the girl who was redoing her make-up said. She turned to look at Rita, so did the others. They were eager to hear the gossip. Rita knew this was her chance. "Tevin's cheating on Cleopatra," she replied in that same tone. "I saw it with my own eyes, so did my fellows. That girl, got in his car and they were all over each other." She closed her eyes and shook her head, like to push away the dreadful memory. The others gasped. Rita, pleased inside her went on, "I felt bad. As if I was supposed to. He drove away, that girl on his laps." She paused and let out a breath, "I don't know. I don't know." She opened her eyes. The three girls were looking at her with shocked expressions. "She gotta know," the girl who was taking photos said. Her name was Katherine and she was simply a secretary in one of the small hotels in town. The others were Mia and Dori. Mia was the girl who had been redoing her make-up. "No," Dori argued. "It’s their wedding eve." "But she gotta know," Katherine said. "It's only right, so that when she enters marriage, she knows what she's up against." "And who should tell her really?" Mia asked. "It's none of our business." "She's our fellow woman," Katherine said. "Men always cheat," Dori told her. "The most important thing is respect towards
her, and I say he really does, that's why it's Cleo who is getting married and not that whore." The argument was becoming interesting to Rita. She crossed her arms. "I agree with her," Mia said. "Please, that whore will have a bad ending. And Tevin will get a suitable punishment, but if we do anything it will negatively affect Cleo." "Truth is like surgery," Katherine quoted. "It cures on the long run but lie is like painkiller. It only releases the pain." Katherine turned away and started walking out adding, "but if that's what we decide to do, keep quiet while our fellow woman is walking to ruin, fine, so be it." She was out in an instant. The remaining exchanged a few words and decided to stay quiet and not do anything about it, since it wasn't their business. They also returned to their places in the party while Rita walked away. There was something that she knew would definitely happen. She wished she could stay and watch it happen. *** Katherine had returned to her friends and she had told them, urging them to keep it a secret. Their friends had told others also emphasizing them to keep quiet, and those others had told others. Mia had blurted it out at the counter and people had heard and started spreading it, and Dori had told her boyfriend and her boyfriend's sister. Those words were moving faster than a wildfire. Cleopatra and her fellows straight away knew that something was wrong. The glances that they received from others were becoming more and more. Cleopatra knew something wasn't right. Latifah stood up and went to a group of chatting girls a little far from Cleopatra. They stopped talking when they saw Latifah. One of those girls was Miranda, a worker in Cleopatra�s firm. Latifah sat with them, greeting them and having a normal chat. After making the girls comfortable with her, she asked, "sorry but is there anything wrong? About the bride?" Without hesitation, Miranda blurted out a superbly exaggerated version of what Rita told them. She said it because that was what she was told. It was perfectly clear that the story picked up words as it was spread, each teller
misunderstanding who told her hence making up her his own version of the truth. Ochu heard it too. Remembering the brief chat he had with Harry, he had a very hard time not to believe it. He sent Tevin a short and clear message, bring ur ass back immediately. U are in deep shit. The story is all over the place. I know it too. Come fast to stop it reaching ur bride. A few minutes later, he got a reply from Tevin. It simply said, I'm on my way.
FOURTEEN Renee had no idea what was up with Tevin. He had left and was taking ages returning. Renee knew he would return. She knew that he was only taking that time to think of a suitable answer for her. Renee became lost in her thoughts. She remembered the amazing time she had with Zidane and almost cried. She had destroyed her own chance. She had been deceived by Tevin's words which at that moment didn't even know were true. She had reacted too quickly. She wondered what would get her the apology she needed. She needed to move on. She had a child growing inside her and she needed to keep it. It was of course Tevin's biologically, but it was purely her child. She didn't care whether Tevin would be there for the child or not. It wasn't what she exactly wanted. She was only there for revenge. To break Tevin's heart and leave, just like how he broke her heart and left. *** Tevin was happy when he saw Sebastian arriving on a motorbike. He got down and the rider drove away. He was holding a small packet. "What's inside?" Tevin asked curiously. "Things to save your bloody ass," Sebastian replied. "Now lead the way. I have a couple knives too that me and Harry can hold-" "I'm not going," Harry told them. "I will go ahead back to the Grande Hall." "Remember we left together," Tevin reminded him. "It will look suspicion if we don't." "I will wait around the corner," Harry replied. He was already getting in the car. He wanted to get Ochu as soon as possible. He knew abortion was a dangerous thing for a lady, especially one who was four months pregnant and wasn't under the supervision of a proper doctor. Renee could lose her life. Then he would live in grief for the rest of his life. "He's too soft," Tevin told Sebastian. "He was against your idea." Sebastian shrugged, "did he have a better one?"
Tevin shook his head. Harry was already starting the car as Sebastian and Tevin walked towards the hotel. *** Renee wasn't surprised when the door opened. She hadn't bothered locking it. She had just called the room service for another drink, soft drink this time and switched to her favourite channel. She lay on the bed and started watching TV as if everything was perfectly normal. Renee didn't even bother to divert her attention to the person entering. She did though, when she sensed someone else entering the room. She looked up. It was Tevin alright but with another man. That man looked familiar, He had seen her a lot of times in Zidane�s photos. She tried to recall his name. That man looked so serious while Tevin had on the most wicked smile. Her heart skipped a bit. "She's actually the most beautiful girl I had ever seen," Sebastian, who Renee didn't know stated. "She's like an angel." "Too bad," Tevin said. Tevin locked the door. Renee sensed danger. "Who is he?" Renee asked. "What are you up to?" Renee sat up. Even without getting up, Sebastian noticed the perfect shape Renee possessed. She was like a perfect sculpture. So beautiful, so hot. "Now I don't blame you for cheating on Cleopatra," Sebastian said. He went to sit on the couch. Tevin sat on the couch too. Sebastian started opening the pack he had. He first took out two knives. He gave one to Tevin. They heard Renee laugh. "You can't kill me. You will be caught so soon. The corridor is filled with CCTV cameras." "We won't," Sebastian replied, "if you do as we command you to." He took out some pills and gave them to her. They were mifepristone and misoprostol. Being around models who didn�t want children soon for the sake of destroying their career, Renee knew those tablets immediately. She knew what they had in mind.
Sebastian gave her a bottle of water. He then took out bottles of juice, water and canned foods. "What are all those for?" Renee asked. "We are going to lock you in here till the day after tomorrow," Sebastian said, "when Tevin and his bride are far away from your reach. You won't be pregnant at that time." "You can lock me in here for years," Renee told them. "But you won't force me to do an abortion. Never." "Come on, girl," Sebastian told her. "You are unwanted. Trash. He doesn't love you. He played you and left you. Don't you ever forget that." Renee wanted to slap him. She didn't. She knew that man was trying to hurt her and will succeed if she showed him that he is angry. "Not happening," Renee said firmly. She took her phone and started typing a message. "I will just tell Zidane-" "No," Tevin snapped. Sebastian took the phone away from him. He purposely slammed it hard on the floor. Renee shrieked, trying to catch it before it hit the floor. The screen broke in many pieces. Renee glared at Sebastian. He was just giving her more reasons to hate them. Just then Sebastian jumped and forced her back on the bed. He gripped the knife harder and put it just on her chest. Tevin handed her the medicines and water. "You won't force me," Renee cried. "You can't." "You should have taken money," Tevin reminded her. "I should have gone straight to Zidane," Renee muttered, "or Cleopatra." "And confess how a slut you were?" Sebastian asked. He was doing that to hurt Renee, to make her feel small. He didn't really mean those words. Beneath that cold mean Sebastian was another man. Only Domina had seen that man. "And you think Zidane will get back to you? You are funny. Zidane doesn't love you at all." The words hurt Renee. She could feel her eyes moisture. Sebastian went on, "he is now moving on with another girl. He is forgetting you."
He drove the knife on her skin, just to draw a little blood. Renee cried in pain. "I'm good at killing people and destroying evidences," Sebastian lied. "Don't worry about the CCTV cameras. I can get them cleared, then I simply frame someone else." He continued driving the knife inside her skin. "Fine," Renee said, stretching her arm to get the pills. She had no choice. She only wished that her friends were listening to the microphone which she had been told that was directly connected to Ghati's phone. "Good slut," Sebastian said. He made her drink two tablets of mifepristone and four misoprostol tablets. Renee had tried to argue, but the slaps she received from Sebastian were enough to threaten her life. After he was done forcing the medicine on her, Sebastian stood up and crushed Renee's phone even more. His eyes set on the telephone for room service. Sebastian walked over to it and cut the wire with the knife. That crushed Renee's chance of escaping and rushing to the hospital to save the unborn child. The two men left leaving Renee in a state of terror. They had locked her in, with no means of communication. She had no way of communicating to anyone in case she needed help. She was sure to need help. She knew the medicines were to be taken on two different days, not on the same day. She wasn�t sure about the quantity, but she knew it wasn�t only her child that needed saving. She needed to be saved too. She was sure to die if help didn�t come sooner. Sebastian had left other medicines but he didn't say what they were for. She tried to bang on the door, calling for help, but no one heard her. The walls were soundproofed, and she was on the topmost floor which meant she couldn't escape through the window or call for help, unless she shouted to the windows below or adjacent. That was exactly what she tried to do for about five minutes. There was no reply. She had only one hope. For her friends to be active and save her soon.
FIFTEEN "Renee needs help," Ghati announced to the others. "Now!" "Do we call the police or doctor first?" Naely asked. She, like any other person was in a state of panic. They didn't know that Tevin would be as heartless as that. They should have seen it coming. Michele was suddenly on a phone to the police while Janet called the doctor and Ghati called Husna. Naely was pacing around the room, hating to be so useless. "Husna said she can't get in without an extra key," Ghati said. "And that requires a special permission, but the police and doctor can get it urgently." "Let's dress and rush to that place," Naely shouted. They were dressed in an instant and were already in their cars rushing to Van Beach hotel. *** Ochu received a fake phone call from Harry about the emergency. He told the others goodbye and left. The others commented about how people were leaving one by one. Zidane wasn't back and no one knew where he was. He wasn't answering his calls or texts. Tevin was taking ages, so was Harry and Sebastian had been too vague about where he was. It was understandable for Ochu to leave. He was a doctor, and since he had studied Medicine at the University of Oxford and did his internship in India in a world�s trusted hospital, he was very popular and trusted. He had opened his own hospital and had a lot of customers. He was always receiving calls, even after works. Ochu rushed to his car and drove to the hospital first. Harry had texted him saying he needed to hurry and that he will be given the whole story later. He was told about the patient. He knew exactly what to take. He also informed the emergency department and soon Ochu was in an ambulance on his way to the Van Beach hotel. He was with another doctor and three nurses. He arrived within a few minutes and rushed his way inside. With an ambulance and the emergency, it only took a minute to get the extra key. He rushed inside the room. He froze.
Renee was the last person he expected to meet. Renee looked surprised too, even in her pains. The medicines were beginning to take effect, especially with the fact that she was forced an overdose. Ochu forced himself not to ask questions. He only asked which medicines she took and the quantity. He was already beginning to give her first aid when the polices rushed in. Renee's friends arrived too and together they helped Renee on a stretcher and into the ambulance. Ochu, along with two other polices went with them. Ghati and the others talked to the remaining polices who needed evidence so that they could go and arrest Tevin and his friend. Husna was called and took down the hidden camera and microphone. *** "You are safe," Ochu told Renee at the hospital. "The baby's safe." Renee asked him, "why did you come to save me? Is that your threat now, that you can endanger my life then save it?� "I don't know what you are talking about," Ochu replied. "Harry asked me to come and help you. He told me to make sure Zidy, Seb and Tev doesn't know. I came." It made sense now. Ochu had always been the kindest one, even sometimes kinder than Zidane. Ochu and Zidane got along more together than with Tevin. "Thank you," Renee said. "My pleasure," Ochu told her. "Have a rest, we will talk another time." "Do I have to stay here?" Renee asked. "You can go home," Ochu told her. "Everything is good." Renee was glad for the first time since a long time ago. Her baby was safe. "If you had known that it was me," Renee quietly asked, "would you have come?" "Of course yes," Ochu replied. Renee never doubted him. And that made her regret ever listening to Tevin at the first time. Men cheated all the time. She was supposed to deal with it if it were
true, not take the action she took. "Why did you take the pills?" Ochu suddenly asked. He needed the answer. It was a long time since he last saw her and he didn't know when he would get another chance. "They didn't tell you," Renee said. She looked at Ochu. She trusted Ochu. Why didn't she consult Ochu before doing anything? Her heart clenched with pains. Her eyes filled with tears. She didn't try to stop the tears that rolled down her cheeks. "Tell me, Renee," Ochu begged her. "Do you hate Zidane that much, that you decide to kill his child?" "It's Tevin's child," Renee said. "What?" gasped Ochu. He thought he heard it wrong. "It's Tevin's," Renee repeated again, and with that she told him the whole story. When she was done, Ochu was burning with anger. "Why did you believe that bastard?" Ochu was almost screaming. "Zidane did no such thing. He is dying right now. You destroyed him." Renee was whimpering in pain. Ochu suddenly became soft, "I'm sorry for shouting at you, but I will make Tevin pay. I will." He was interrupted by a phone call. He looked at the caller ID. It was Harry. He received it. "Yes, Harry," said Ochu. "How is she?" Harry questioned. "There wasn't much damage," Ochu replied, "just the wound, where she was kinda stabbed." "They bloody stabbed her?" the anger in Harry's voice was unmistakable. "I swear I was just about to feel sorry for them." "What happened?" Ochu questioned.
"Polices came to take them away," Harry replied. "The whole ceremony is wrecked." "Yes," Ochu said, "let the bastard rot in jail." "Come and see him before they close the gates," Harry said and hanged up. "I don't want to see his face," Ochu said in a sad voice. "I feel like I don't know him at all." "I wanna see him," Renee said. "Take me, please Ochu."
SIXTEEN He had got rid of Renee, at least it was what he thought. With Sebastian, he drove back to the Grande Hall. They were loudly singing along the music that they kept up at full volume. To them, they had succeeded. Renee wouldn't be a threat till after the wedding, then that would be another matter. At the place where Harry had said he would wait for them, they found him as promised. Together the two vehicles pulled up at the Grande Hall. Sebastian gave him a brand new shirt, exactly like the one he was wearing. "You are a life saver," Tevin told him. "I had completely forgotten." "If you want to play the game boy," Sebastian quoted, "you gotta learn to play it right." Tevin giggled as he quickly changed his shirt. Harry was the first one out of the car. He walked to Tevin's car to see what was taking them long. He found Tevin just changing the shirt. He was done after only a minute. This would change everything, Tevin thought. He would simply tell Cleo that they actually went shopping for it. It would explain why he took a long time. Tevin and Sebastian finally got out of the car. The three of them quietly entered the hall. Most eyes turned to them. They ignored them. Tevin ran to Cleopatra, carried her in a bridal style and swung her around before putting her back on the chair. "You took ages," Cleopatra pointed out as the three men took their seats. Zidane hadn't yet returned. "Sorry babe," apologized Tevin. "I couldn't find the perfect shirt. I had to buy it." "You actually went shopping," Cleopatra was impressed. "Wow." "Anything for you," Tevin told her. Even kill, he added silently. He felt sorry for Renee who was locked in the hotel room without any means of communication. Suppose she had a medical emergency, she was sure to die if not get serious damage.
Tevin shivered at the thought of Renee dying because of him. He thought of how Zidane and Cleopatra would react when they found out. “Where’s Zidane?” Tevin asked, “and Ochu?” “Ochu got called for a medical emergency,” Cleopatra replied, “and Zidane, I don’t know.” “He isn’t answering the calls,” Hans added. “What if something bad happened?” Latifah asked, worried. Tevin, Harry and Sebastian were thinking of something else. What if he had followed them secretly to the hotel? *** Zidane stood outside Renee's house. He had just found himself taking the cab to this place. It was completely dark. Zidane didn't know what he wanted, apart from one thing only. He missed Renee terribly. He just had to tell her. Life was hard without her. He had lost inspiration since her betrayal. He didn't want to know the reasons. He only wanted to know if Renee felt the same or was he suffering alone. If she was feeling the same, then he would start from there. He didn't know why he was the one to beg while he was the one who was wronged. He loved Renee, with every breath, every heartbeat, every step he took. He loved her every inch. He needed her. He loved her. He pressed the little bell. He knew there was a guard and he would answer him. In a few minutes, the guard was there opening the gate. He went in the gates. He went to her apartment. He was surprised that Renee hadn't changed the key to her apartment. He got in, made himself coffee, switched on the television and made himself comfortable on the coach. He missed doing that. He missed Renee. *** Six policemen entered the Grande Hall. Everyone else stopped what they were doing. Even the music ceased. "What the-" Latifah started. "Now what?" Domina questioned.
One of the policeman was asking one of the guests some questions. The guest, a young man turned to Tevin and pointed his finger right at him. Tevin got startled, so did the others. The policemen walked to them. "Tevin Hanstone," the policeman said. "You are under arrest." "What?" Tevin and a few others demanded to know. "Why?" Latifah asked. "Where's the warrant arrest?" Sebastian asked. The police showed then the warrant arrest. "Why?" Cleopatra asked, terrified. "What did you three do? Tell me!" "No," Harry suddenly said. "Let's go, I'll escort you." "Are you a policeman too?" Cleopatra yelled at Harry. "I want to know why he's being attacked." "For murder attempt," the police replied. All went quiet. "He was with someone else," the police continued, "but the victim didn't know him well." He turned to Sebastian and added, "you fit best the descriptions given." Sebastian sighed. "Yes, arrest me too. Though we didn't try to kill. It was a misunderstanding." The police took the two men away. Cleopatra was by his side despite people telling her to return to her seat. She wasn't in a sane state anymore. Her wedding was the following day and first she gets a hint that her man was cheating and now he had been arrested. She hated it. She suddenly hated her life. She felt the urge to cry. "Who is the girl?" Cleopatra was asking. "I need to talk to her." "No, sweetheart," Tevin was telling her as he was being escorted to the police land rover. "It will be okay, honey" "Tell me her bloody name," Cleopatra commanded. "And don't you dare call me
honey or sweetheart if all you do is going to kill people behind my back. How many did you already kill? Why? Answer me." Tevin was quiet. Her words hurt like salt on a wound. He was losing her and he knew it. "I'm sorry," he was crying. He couldn't say more. He was already in the land rover. Cleopatra rushed to another car and followed the land rover all the way to the police station. She was out before Tevin was out. "Don't do this, Cleopatra," Tevin sobbed. "It hurts me." Cleopatra turned to the polices leading them to the cell. "Please, just five minutes," she begged. Her tears could soften the heart of a fierce stone giant. The polices allowed them. Tevin sobbed too. He could see all his friends but Zidane and Ochu. Ochu was a doctor, and Harry had refused to wait for them. Could the two had been the ones to notify the polices? Anger filled Tevin's body. He wanted to kill Ochu and especially Harry on the spot. "It's your fault," he yelled at Harry. "You betrayed me." "What?" Cleopatra asked, "how? Why? When?" "She was going to die," Harry told Tevin, "you gave her three tabs instead of one, then you locked her in the room. She was going to die. I couldn't let it happen." "What are you talking about?" Cleopatra wanted to know. The others were listening eagerly too. "It’s my bloody wedding tomorrow," Tevin screamed, "see what you have done." "I didn't call the police," Harry told him, "and neither did Ochu. It was the girl's friends." "But you led it," Tevin yelled. "And you did rather have her dead body?" Harry yelled back. "With your child in her womb?" Everyone gasped, even Cleopatra who was then rooted to the
spot. Harry went on, "then you force her to overdose then lock the door." "Enough," the police yelled. Tevin and Harry went quiet. They straight away regretted what they did. Their heated argument would act as evidences that Tevin and Sebastian were guilty. �Who is that bloody girl?� Cleopatra roared. Tears were spluttering out of her eyes like a broken dam of water. �No need to,� Ochu began to say. A murdering look from Cleopatra shut him up. �It�s Renee,� Tevin replied. �Renee Armstrong.� Cleopatra along with many others around her recognized that name immediately. If it was true, then Tevin had messed up with fire. Cleopatra didn�t think so though. She saw Renee as the number one hater, a life wrecker. The two had met at Cleopatra�s office a lot of time when Renee came for the insurance of her properties. Knowing who she was, Cleopatra had always given her special attention. Renee had looked loving and kind, not capable of such a thing as destroying someone�s happiness. Ochu's car stopped near them too. Tevin looked at the car as Ochu and Renee stepped out. "Who is the bride?" Renee wanted to know. Ochu pointed at Cleopatra. Renee froze. She knew her, only she never knew that she was the fiancee of Tevin. "Take me home," Renee ordered getting back in the car. Ochu didn't argue or hesitate for even a minute.
SEVENTEEN Cleopatra had never been angrier. The first thing that she did when she reached home was to head straight to the kitchen. She took the cake and threw it on the ground before starting stomping on it. Her friends tried to stop her, but she was already breaking the champagne and wine bottles. She then moved to the dressing room. She found a pair of scissors and started tearing the clothes. Her friends again wanted to stop her but she was so furious to hear anybody. Her parents advised them to stop trying and only watch her. When she was done, she was wailing loudly. No single outfit remained from the wedding gown, the dresses of the bridesmaid and flower girls, the suits, along with many other outfits for important guests. Cleopatra, still holding the scissors moved to the mirror. She hated the sight that she saw, a rough Lady, with black liquid lines going down her cheeks. Her tears had been mixed with her make-p and did a terrible mess on her face. She didn�t look like Cleopatra Roosevelt anymore. She held her hair and cut them with the scissors. Latifah shrieked. Cleopatra walked to her room and sat on the veranda. Never had she been so hurt, felt so betrayed. She hated life suddenly. She was thinking if various ways to kill Renee, then Tevin and finally herself when she fell asleep. *** "What do we do?" Latifah questioned. To say that she was worried for Renee was an understatement. She couldn't find the perfect word for it. It was way more than that. "I don't know," Harriet replied. She didn't know what to do. She only wished for some miracle to happen and save everything. Domina was quiet. She had received everything with a great shock. The three of them were in a luxurious living room in Cleopatra's part of the house. Cleopatra's room had everything of its own. It was like a one-bedroom apartment. It had an extravagant living room with fur like sofas, a twelve-inch flat screen, a refrigerator, a book shelf which was constantly updated with new latest books once ten books were read. It had two bathrooms, one in her bedroom
and another for the guest, a dressing room and a kitchen with a tiny store. The outfits for tomorrow's ceremony, which were all destroyed now, were in the main dressing room, a room full of designer outfits and which could fit a whole four full master bedrooms house and even leave room for a garden. Domina suddenly got up and moved to the fridge. She opened it and looked inside. She took out the only alcoholic thing she saw. It was a bottle of white wine. "Draining our thoughts in alcohol won't help," Harriet told her. "We need to know how to get out of this mess." Domina opened the wine bottle. She was about to drink straight from it when Latifah stopped her. "We also want some," Latifah told Domina. Domina stood up and went to the kitchen. They heard the shattering of glass followed by Domina swearing loudly. Somehow she managed to return to the sitting room with three wine glasses. She sat down and gave each person a glass. Slowly, she poured the content into the glass. "I'm scared," Latifah admitted. "Me too," Harriet told her. Indeed they were. "I don't want to check the social media right now." "It's bad," Latifah said. Domina had already emptied her glass and was pouring herself another drink. They watched her draining the contents down. She poured herself a third glass. "Sorry, Domina," Latifah said. �Thanks,� Domina replied. It was only after Domina replied did Harriet understand what the sorry was for. Domina had loved Sebastian, and now he was the victim of this whole mess. “I loved him,” Domina said before emptying the third glass of wine. *** "How much do you want?" Tevin at least had the gut of asking the police officer.
All he needed to do was get out and run to Cleopatra. He would kneel down crying, letting her shout as much as she could. He would beg for her forgiveness. Only he didn't know if it was that easy. He had attempted to murder an innocent girl, a pregnant girl, the love of his best friend's life. He didn't deserve mercy. He deserved torture. This was torture. "Just name a price," Tevin pleaded. �I will give you anything you want.� He didn't care if he became bankrupt. He was ready to part all his wealth and start at the bottom, only to win Cleopatra back overnight. "I don't think if it's easy," the P.O. told Tevin. "We are talking about Renee Armstrong. I will lose my job and everything I own before I even get out of this building." "You don't have to be scared," Tevin told him. "No," the P.O. said firmly. "I will give you the best job ever," Tevin tried to convince him. Sebastian interrupted Tevin. "How do you know he isn't recording the conversation. You will be found guilty because of just-" "I'm doing this for Cleo," Tevin turned to him and said. "Who cares about your marriage?" Sebastian asked him. It was a really hard blow on Tevin�s face. "If I won't make it up to her," Tevin cried, "Renee will win." "Isn't she not so far?" Sebastian reminded him. Tevin was quiet for a moment then he suddenly shouted, "it's your fault. You led to this. Couldn't you have thought of another way?" Sebastian laughed out loud. It annoyed Tevin even more. He moved forward and pushed him down on the floor. Sebastian was taken by surprise. He fell flat on the floor. He stood up, and gave Tevin a great blow on his face. When he looked at his hand, it had blood. He had broken Tevin's nose. He deserved it. The P.O. was gone. He had gone without them noticing.
"Did you just beat me?" Tevin was filled with fury. He needed the fight. He needed to get hurt. It was the only thing that made him temporary forget the pains of thinking about Cleopatra. He threw fists and kicks at Sebastian. It was a real fight now. If it weren't for the police officers that came to separate them, Tevin would have been killed in that cell.
EIGHTEEN Renee was outside her apartment. She could hear sound coming from inside. The only person who had her spare key was Janet. She suddenly remembered that Janet had headed home. Renee wondered who it could be. She even thought of calling the police. She hesitated. She remembered someone else who had her key, Zidane. Inside her, Renee wished for it to be Zidane. She opened the door. There was Zidane watching television and drinking coffee like he owned the place. Like old times. Those days. She was a very happy girl. Everyone had noticed it. Her life was filled with love and delight. And now as she stepped in her apartment, he was there, like the old times. She was frozen to the spot, unsure of what to do. He was the last person she expected to see. Zidane turned to look at her. He threw her a smile which Renee didn't understand. "Welcome," Zidane said. "Surprised you." Renee went quiet. She was surprised. She felt as if a bomb had dropped straight outside her apartment but managed to leave her unharmed. That shock, fright, relief. "I'm sorry," Zidane went on. "But we need to talk. We didn't earlier." Renee was lost for words. Memories of the past with him rushed back on her
head. They were happily in love, and then suddenly everything was shattered on the ground. What they had then felt like a sandcastle to the great waves of the ocean that splatted on it. She loved him still. That was what pained the most. "What are you doing?" Renee managed to get out the words. She was stammering. She didn't know if it was because of joy, fear or shock. Shock, it was understandable. Fear, yes. She was a girl in an apartment alone with a strong man. He could simply finish the work that Tevin and Sebastian had started. But joy, it wasn't right. She was supposed to be disgusted, not overwhelmed with relief. "We need to talk," Zidane responded. "What have you forgotten?" Renee asked sharply. Her eyes were filled with tears now. She couldn't stop them from rolling down her cheeks. Zidane was in front of her in a second. "Wrong as you did me," Zidane whispered, rubbing her tears, "it still hurts to see you cry." "You started it," Renee yelled at him pushing him back. "You started it." "What did I do?" Zidane asked. "You betrayed me. You slept with goodness knows who. You broke my heart." His voice became deep and filled with emotions. It was so pure, so innocent. He went on, "you were my first love, Renee. I worshiped you. I cherished every second I spent with you." He paused before adding, "you had murdered me then. The betrayal that you gave me was beyond my endurance. You killed me, Renee." Renee stared at him. He was filled with honesty that Renee felt so dreadful. Could he really be meaning every word he said? He had never seen him that broken, that down, that vulnerable. It hurt her to see him like that. "Why did you do it?" Zidane finally asked. He needed to know why. "You cheated on me," Renee told him. The surprise that Zidane wore wasn't a pretense one. It was completely true. It drove Renee to insanity. It proved to her, without any further clarifications that she had done the major mistake. Tevin had deceived her. She had walked straight
to him, the wolf in sheep's clothing. "Who told you?" Zidane wanted to know. "I just heard," Renee quickly said not sure of herself anymore. She had thrown away a bar of gold for a mud stone. "Tell me," Zidane commanded her, shaking her hard. His face was filled with fury. "Tevin," Renee replied. "What?" Zidane asked, thinking he heard her wrong. "Tevin," Renee repeated and told him how it happened. By the time she was done, they were seated on the floor. Renee was whimpering in pains while Zidane was filled with anger. He couldn't believe that Tevin had done that to him. He hated it more that he never tried hard with Renee and get the story out earlier. He knew he would have prevented a lot of things. But still he was furiously mad at Renee. "Why didn't you come to me?" he questioned her. "I'm sorry," Renee managed to say in between her cries. She had no way of defending herself. "How could you never have trusted me?" Zidane growled. It hurt like hell, to know that the girl he loved to death never trusted him. "It is why you trusted that bastard, you didn't trust me enough." "I'm sorry," Renee cried and cried. This was not the reaction she had expected. She had expected Zidane to be only a little mad at Tevin, then tell her he had forgiven her, and maybe a little bit angry at her. The reaction that Zidane showed wasn't it. He was mostly mad at her. Renee understood him. She knew she had to do more than just extra to earn his forgiveness which could never even come. She knew that even if they decided to be together again, their relationship would never be the same. She remembered a quote she was read online, that trust was like a paper. Breaking trust was like crushing it since no matter how much you straighten it, it would never be the same. That was it. She had already shown a biggest weakness to him. She had
shown him a gap that would never be filled. Nothing was going to be the same ever. What made it worse was the fact that she was carrying the child of Tevin. Renee had eliminated the facts that her and Tevin had hooked up a number of times. She got on her knees. "Forgive me, Zidane," she cried painfully. "I was stupid. How could I not have trusted you? He came to me with venom and I took it. He deceived me, Zidane. If you were there, you would have understood why I believed him. He gave me false proofs. I hate him." She stopped to wipe some tears then continued, "you gave me the world within the numbered days, Zidane. You are a perfect man. I don't deserve you. You deserve a queen, or even the goddess herself. I was stupid. I was the jealous type and it had hurt me to hear all those things, that was why I never came to you. I was devastated. My heart was shattered. My life had ended. What remained of me was my physical body. I couldn't face you. I hated you. By the time I realized my mistake of not consulting you as soon as possible, it was already too late." Zidane was quiet. Yes, he had been betrayed before but now that he knew the reason he felt even a hundred times more betrayed. It would have hurt if Renee had just told him that she had found another man but to hear that she had believed some words said about him. Zidane looked at Renee. Her eyes were swollen with tears. Her voice had already become coarse from crying. She even had hiccups now. Somehow it hurt Zidane. Despite everything, he still loved her. He slowly stood up and went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of warm water which he kindly held to Renee as he helped her drink. He hated her for everything, yet he loved her even more. And that was more painful than ever. He had no will of his own when it came to Renee. His mind was mixed up while his actions were the total opposite of what he was meant to do. "I don't deserve your kindness, Zidane," Renee sobbed when the hiccups had stopped. "I don't deserve your apology." "I forgive you," he suddenly said. Renee looked at him surprised. She thought she heard him wrong. It wasn't possible. "I mean it," Zidane said. "I will go and kill Tevin of course."
"You can't," Renee told him, tears coming back again. "I have done worse." "What?" Zidane asked. "What could be worse than breaking my heart." "I'm pregnant," she stammered. Zidane put his hands on her cheeks and forced her to look at him. He asked gently, "and who is the father of the child?" He knew what the answer would be, yet he needed to hear it himself. "Tevin," she answered starting to cry again. "After all happened, he seduced me. He said he was heartbroken too and that we should help each other." Zidane went totally still. Even his breathing ceased. He was absorbing the words. He had more reasons to kill Tevin. Worse of all, he wanted to kill him that instant and prevent Cleopatra from getting married to that awful bastard of a bull, Tevin. He hated him more than ever. "I had come back for revenge," she went on. "How?" Zidane wanted to know. "He is in jail," Renee told him. "Why? How?" Zidane asked. Renee told him the whole story. Zidane stood up and headed to the door. "Where are you going?" Renee jumped up and rushed to him. "Please, Zidane, don't do anything to them. The punishment they are going through is already enough. And I feel bad, I shouldn't have. It's my fault." Renee put a hand on his shoulder. "How?" Zidane asked turning to look at her. Her face was once again filled with tears. His heart clenched when she was hurt. "I never trusted you hard enough," Renee replied. She got on her knees again, "I'm sorry. Please, let me finish this." Zidane looked hard at her. He didn't understand what or why he did what he did next. He pulled her up on her feet and pulled her into a tight embrace.
NINETEEN "Do you need some tea?" Harriet asked Cleopatra. She hadn't had a goodnight sleep since she was up every time to go and check on Cleopatra. Latifah had helped too. Domina had been high on the drink. After emptying the bottle of wine she had gone to the main kitchen to look for more drinks. They had tried to stop her but failed. "A coffee maybe," Cleopatra told her. Harriet rushed to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. She found some cookies too and sent them to Cleopatra. She sat on the bed as she watched Cleopatra drink. "You can talk, Harriet," Cleopatra told her. "It happened. Talk to me. Talk about him, me, the wedding. Tell me how fucked I am, how I'm unlucky." "You are not," Harriet said. "He is." "I'm not marrying him," Cleopatra said, "not even over my dead body. I hate him." Harriet was quiet. What was there for her to say? She couldn't agree with her or advise her otherwise. It was Cleopatra's decision's alone. "We will have a party," Cleopatra said cheerfully, "to cover the costs that was spent." She took her phone and went to her social media profiles. She ignored the posts, private messages and tags. She went to her status and taking a selfie, she updated her status saying that the ceremony is to go on as usual. It indeed surprised people and caused a lot of questions. She ignored them. She threw her phone aside and finished her coffee and cookies. After that she rushed to the bathroom. She brushed her teeth then took a quick shower before rushing out of the bathroom. There she found her parents. "Dear, are you okay?" Mrs. Roosevelt asked. "Mum, I'm good," Cleopatra replied as she started heading towards her dressing room. Her plan was simple, to spend the day watching comedy movies with her friends and anyone who wanted to join her then go to the party as it was planned. The food was amazingly cooked and a lot of money was spent on it. She just
couldn't let the money go away wasted. "What do we do?" Mrs. Roosevelt questioned. "You mean like what should Tevin do?" Cleopatra questioned back. "Let him rot in jail." She entered her dressing room. She began rummaging through her clothes. She finally decided to put on a pair of black skin jeans and a yellow top. "He no longer exist," Cleopatra said, "but talk about him as much as you want. I am moving on." She was broken to the maximum. She acted strong. It was what she was meant to do. She knew people like Rita were a lot on this world. They weren't a problem. The problem were those people who were Harriet at the outside and Rita in the inside. She knew her scandal would go on for ages in the social media sites. She knew it would be all over the news. She knew people would forever point at her. She had to get used to it, the sooner the better. She was going to show the world that she was strong enough to do it. She would survive. She would make it through. She hadn't realized that a tear had escaped and was rolling down her cheek. She quickly wiped it then turned to her parents with a smile. She said, "if you will excuse me, I want to get dressed." Her parents looked at each other then left without a word. Cleopatra sighed. This was her life now. People pitying her and feeling sorry for her. She wished for everyone, including herself, to forget so quickly. Before he was led to the cell, Tevin had given her the girl's name. She was Renee Armstrong. She had recognized the name Armstrong. Cleopatra took out her phone and sent a message to one of her friends who worked for NIDA, a government organization which dealt with National ID cards. She asked him for the details and contact address of Renee Armstrong. Cleopatra could get them too without the help of her friend, but that would be until she went back to her office and look through the files. She wasn�t planning to go to work on Monday. She had already said goodbye to her workers and assigned extra works to some employees since she had told them she would be on her honeymoon. The wedding not taking place didn�t mean she had to go back to work. She was giving herself a holiday.
When Cleopatra had finished dressing and was about to leave the dressing room, the reply came. It was from that friend, Pete was his name, and he had the full information concerning Renee. In normal circumstances, Pete would have made her pay for that information. By paying it wasn't for actual money, but make her beg and make promises which he purposely never followed up. But on that day, he replied so quickly. Cleopatra knew it was because of her wedding disaster. People were feeling sorry for her. People were doing everything she asked just because they felt sorry for her. She hated it, but since she had no other choice, Cleopatra thought wickedly of taking it for granted. She left and headed to the cinema room. She sent many texts to her friends and relatives asking them to join her. Most of them agreed. She gave them only half an hour to arrive. Cleopatra ordered popcorns and sodas. She then started arranging the CDs of the latest movies when Harriet, Latifah and Domina joined her. Soon later, her cousins and other relatives joined them too. They simply started talking about actors and actresses and music and work. Cleopatra joined them too, though in her heart she was sad. She talked and laughed with them till the sodas and popcorns arrived. She received them along with many other friends. After exactly forty minutes, they started watching the movies. It was when the movie started when Cleopatra took her phone and texted Renee. Cleo: hi, it's Cleopatra Roosevelt. Tevin's ex. Cleopatra wouldn't have been surprised if Renee never answered or answered rudely. After fifteen minutes, Renee replied to Cleopatra's text. Renee: Oh, hello. Sorry for my late reply. I was attending to some horrible annoying visitor. Cleopatra sent her a sad emoji followed by laughing emojis. Renee sent back with laughing emojis too. Renee: How are u? Cleopatra didn't know why Renee had to ask her that question. After being humiliated, what did she expect her to feel? Cleo: coping with the situation you left me in. What else do you expect me to do?
Curl up and die? Renee: I'm sorry. Cleo: Like you are. I wanted to talk to u, b4 tonight as I'll be having a party. U r welcome by the way Renee: Thanx dear. When do u want us to talk? About what? Where? Cleopatra thought of a place. She wasn't sure if Renee would agree to come to her place. Also, she had to go out too. She needed to show the world how strong she was. Cleopatra started thinking of a place where they would talk without attracting the attention of the paparazzi. Cleo: How about we meet for lunch? Renee: Perfect. I love eating. Hope you are not planning to poison me like how ur fiancee tried to kill me. Cleo: I wish he succeded Renee: I�ve got nine lives Cleo: I knew you were not human 2PM sharp KFC
TWENTY "Am I not invited to lunch?" Zidane asked Renee as she was dressing up. He had spent the night and the whole morning at Renee's place. They had come to a conclusion that they would just be friends. Zidane wanted some time to think about his feelings, if he really loved Renee or not. Renee knew that she had wronged him too much to be in a relationship with him. He deserved someone better. Zidane, despite his ultimate love for her knew he didn�t trust her fully anymore. He knew that relationships were all about trust. If there was no trust, what was the reason to hold on? "It's only us two," Renee explained to him. "It's good if we talk. I think she hates me." "You had been chatting a bit too much," Zidane pointed out. �I don�t think if you will be enemies.� He paused then added, �not that you are completely right, but you are not to be blamed fully either.� "When we first met," Renee recalled. "We were chatting over too much." Zidane laughed. It was true. They were young and in love. "You go and bail your friend out," Renee said. "I will soon call to dismiss the case." �I don�t think if you should,� Zidane said, �at least not anytime soon.� Renee was dressed in a cheetah robe with a black big belt. She put on black shoes and took a cheetah purse to match. Zidane thought she looked beautiful. "How do you know the child isn't mine?" Zidane suddenly asked. "I did a DNA test," Renee told him. "How do I know you didn't bribe the doctor?" he asked. He was only being stubborn, just like the old days. "Stop it, Zidane," Renee said as she applied the light make up on her face. Zidane watched her. He had always hated it when she wore make up. It was because she didn't need make up. She was beautiful just the way she was. Because of that, Renee took the habit of applying very little make up, a habit she
still had. "Where is your car again?" Renee asked him. It was only then that he remembered that he left his car still parked outside the Grande Hall. "I guess I need to get a cab to there," Zidane told her. "We are friends. How about we go there then I drive you to KFC?" "I'm gonna be late," Renee cried. "No you are not," Zidane said. "Tell me, where you excited like this for our first date?" Renee thought for a moment then burst out laughing. She really was excited. "I was, and nervous too. I had like four different outfits to choose from, and I drove my friends crazy. They never hated me more." Zidane laughed. They both needed it. "I'm done," Renee announced checking her reflection again. "Beautiful," Zidane said, meaning it. Renee blushed. It was a very long time since she had heard that from him. Too bad, it would never happen again. The two of them called Uber. It arrived a minute later. The two left together. *** Cleopatra had just arrived at KFC. Surprisingly she had worn a long cheetah dress with a black belt. She also had black shoes and a cheetah purse. She scanned around the place for a hint of Renee. As she was still looking, she saw Zidane's car stop by. Zidane waved at her. Cleopatra went forward to say hi just as a very beautiful girl dressed similar like her got down. "Hello Zid," Cleopatra greeted him cheerfully. "Hi," Zidane said. "Did you two plan to dress alike?" Cleopatra's gaze went to Renee who went to stop next to her. "We think alike," Renee said. "Yeah," Cleo said. Then she suddenly realized who it was, Renee Armstrong,
that celebrity. To Cleopatra, it seemed like Renee had become a million times more beautiful. "Oh my God," Cleopatra cried. "I hate you. Why did you destroy my ceremony? What was it about the murder attempt and all those stuff. You bloodily made them up. I should have known that something like this could happen.� "Now wait," Renee said. �Do you actually think that I made those stuffs up? Who do yo think I am? He deserved it.� �Girls, stop,� Zidane commanded them as he got out of the car. Cleopatra had already made a go at Renee and they were struggling to strangle each other�s throats. Around them people looked at them and took photos and videos. Paparazzi were suddenly everywhere. Cleopatra ignored them. All she wanted was to kill this girl Renee. �Stop,� Zidane said puling Renee away. He was strong. He managed to stand in between the two girls. �You are acting like a pair of school girls.� �She�s to blame,� Cleopatra roared at Renee. �I swear I will revenge this I swear I will.� �No,� Renee roared back. �Your so-called fiance started this. And I swear he will rot in jail till death takes him. �You wish,� Cleopatra yelled. �Shut up,� Zidane shouted. �Renee, when you told me she wanted to talk to you I thought you two actually had sense in you to talk this over, not fight like some uncivilized men. Look around you, see what you have bought for yourselves.� The two girls looked around. The crowd of people around them had increased. �In the car right now,� Zidane commanded. �I am calling Ochu and Harry and each person will speak. Cleopatra, you need to know what truly happened.� He turned to Renee and added firmly, �We all need to learn a lesson from this.� Zidane knew he had to take matters on his own hands. After all, he was also the victim of this. He knew he had to do what Tevin had failed to do, make
Cleopatra know the whole story. Cleopatra went back to her car while Rene and Zidane got in his car. He quickly texted Ochu and Harry and asked them to meet him at his apartment as soon as possible. When they arrived, Ochu and Harry were already waiting. During the whole drive, they didn�t miss the lines of cars following them. They were the paparazzi, following their movements as expected. Once settled inside, Zidane turned to Renee, Ochu and Harry and asked them their story concerning the current situation. Rene spoke last. Cleopatra listened. She didn�t know what to think any more. She didn�t know who to trust anymore. �I�m sorry, Cleopatra,� Renee finished. Cleopatra, though deep inside her still hated Renee, didn�t know why Renee had to apologise. Cleopatra�s hate for Renee was due to the fact that the one to blame was out of reach. It was also because of the fact that Renee had her revenge and wasn�t the one who had experienced the humiliation. Yes, Renee would also be in the social media at a larger scale than her since she was known Internationally, but it would be her that was humiliated and who would forever have the pains in her heart. �I need to prepare for the ceremony,� Cleopatra announced. �I need to go shopping. All the outfits from earlier are inappropriate.� �I will take care of that,� Renee offered. �You can tell your friends too and we can meet back at my apartment.� Cleopatra wanted to say no. But when she saw the eyes of Zidane, Harry and Ochu on her, she thught otherwise. They were testing her. That night at Renee's apartment, Cleopatra called Harriet, Domina and Latifah while Renee called Naely, Ghati, Janet and Michele. It was an awkward union. Everyone had been quiet at first but when they started talking little at first, the conversation caught fast and found themselves talking like they were never enemies. The girls loved it as they made jokes, laughed, drank and rummaged through Renee's wardrobe. Sana came to join them later. She had a friend with her, Georgina, who was the current Miss America. Renee gave Cleopatra the dress she thought perfect for her. Everyone loved it. Everyone else got a perfect brand new designer outfit from Renee too. She didn't
mind the loss. That was naturally her. She waited till everyone else was dressed and perfectly satisfied till she started worrying about what to wear. She eventually settled on a short silver dress. Sana rejected the dress and gave her the most beautiful girl ever which she had carried as a gift for Renee. Sana spoke of how much the beauty of the dress reminded her of Renee, and bought the dress especially for her. She didn't present it earlier for the fear of it being given to someone else. They were now ready for the party. A party meant for the wedding which never happened. Sana had already asked Zidane to book a limousine for them. He agreed without a mumble. The girls even planned how to make a dramatic entrance. It was as if nothing bad had happened. It was as if there was never a wedding to take place.
TWENTY ONE �Cleopatra is continuing with the party!" Tevin exclaimed. He had his phone back and he was scanning through the social media gossip pages just to see how people talked about them. Of course there was a lot about him and Cleopatra. "Yeah," Zidane said casually. "Why not?" Tevin shrugged. He was at the front driver seat while Sebastian was at the back. Zidane had bailed them out. But he had done that late during the day. He had done that purposely. He wanted them to stay longer in jail. "I have to go too," Tevin said. Zidane went quiet. He drove slowly to Tevin's bungalow. All the other friends were there, including Zayden. The men had planned to meet there before the party. It looked that they kept their promise anyway. "My suit is there," Tevin cried. "Guys, find me a suit while I go shower and get ready." "For what?" Zidane asked. "The party," Tevin said "Why don't we sit down while me and you have a chat," Zidane ordered him, "about me and Renee. And you and Cleopatra." "It's over," Tevin snapped. "Is it?" Zidane asked punching him on the nose. "Is it?" Others wanted to stop Zidane but Harry, Ochu and Sebastian stopped them. "That is for lying to Renee," Zidane said. He pushed Tevin on the floor then kicked him on the balls. "That is for seducing my girl." He lifted him then smacked him on the face before punching him on the stomach. "That is for cheating on Cleopatra." He punched him on the face again. "With my girl." Tevin was on the floor. Blood was coming out of his noise. Zidane wasn't done. He was kicking him furiously now, not carrying what he kicked, "that is for betraying our friendship. That is for wanting to make her disappear by forcing her to have an overdose of those abortion tabs then wanting to lock her in the
room. She would have died." Zidane finished by lifting a table of glass and dropping it on Tevin. He then turned to Sebastian. He threw him a punch which he caught. Sebastian wasn't letting anyone hit him without fighting back. A fierce fight began. Zidane was drove by nothing but anger and the fiercely strong urge to revenge. By the time Zidane was pulled back, Sebastian was thrown on top of Tevin. Zidane, who had won the fight was seriously bruised too. The others had already called an ambulance to come and take them. *** Zayden stepped in the hall. This one was the Bay View and it was next to the beach. It was indeed beautiful. Sweet music filled his ears while delicious aroma filled his nose. He couldn't believe that it was for a wedding that was planned and never took place. He looked around then saw the group of beautiful girls sitting together. Sana was one of them. The other was Renee. He slowly walked to them, ignoring the cameras snapping his way. He knew that some people would recognize him. "Beautiful girls from all over the world," he greeted them warmly. They smiled at him. "He's Zayden," Renee introduced him to the others, "Sana's boyfriend and Zidane's big brother." They looked at him with awe. He was just too hot. The debate about who was hotter between him and Zidane could go on forever like the argument about who was better between boys and girls. "Nice to meet you," everyone told him as Renee introduced her friends while Cleopatra introduced hers. "Where's Zidane?" Renee asked. She had looked around the hall a load of time and she hadn't seen him. "Hospital," Zayden replied. "What?" Renee asked. Zayden chuckled, "he's just bruised. Seb and Tev are in worse state."
"What happened?" Renee asked but as Zayden opened his mouth to respond she said, "let me guess, there was a fight." "Yeah," Zayden said. "I never knew that my bro had that side in him." With that he started laughing. Everyone started laughing too. THE END Stay tuned for book Two