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The Charade

 
p={color:#000;}. The Charade

Daniel Olas

Copyright 2017 Daniel Olas

Shakespir Edition

Shakespir Licence Note:

This book is meant for your personal reading alone. This book may not be reproduced, copied and distributed for commercial and non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favourite eBook retailer to discover and download or purchase other works by this author. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance of character and places and events is coincidental and should be treated as such.

Table of Content

Prologue

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

Prologue

The summer has just been born. The sun has been given power to reign. The sky lays bare at a wide expanse of a silver cloud hanging down in gossamer at the horizon; the tarred road shimmering with mirage. The incessant noise and the honk of cars and motorcycles rant the air as the sun lashes out her whips of hotness. The city seems to be oblivious of the feelings that her citizen carries and the burden that every soul has to bare every day. The emotions that weighs them down, the ones that enthuses them and even the ones that confuses them. It becomes even more difficult to decipher the true and the hidden meaning of each smile one have to put on to façade the pains that burrows deep down the marrow. The pains that has become a necessary devil; ones we can’t do without.

If emotions can be hidden with such bright smile, I wonder what couldn’t be hidden. I wonder what kind of pretence we can’t make… if need be. And of all the burdens that depresses us, only one thing has always have the power to truly uplift our spirit and project us into fantasies that exists only in our hearts. Only one thing that can truly bring the smiles; ones we don’t have to façade, only it can actually makes us cry without smiling within… it’s one thing that can bring the real us out. It defines our character and bounds us in great spell; hypnotizing our soul and mesmerizing our mind. Love they say is strong but I’m sure we’ve all gotten it wrong at one time and every effort to make it right has only complicated it the more. Then we tend to ask if loving really worth it. Why break heart when it doesn’t worth it? Why cry over a love that has only bound you down to whims of selfless acts and sacrifices? Why run after it when it will surely turn back to haunt you? Why can’t we just play with that love and act as if we truly do—that’s flirting? Maybe! Since we can’t run away from it, why don’t we hang in there and have fun while it last. Maybe by doing so, we’d be satisfied with what we’ve done to love also. But wait… what if we are hurting someone in the process? What if we are tearing a soul apart? What if we are the reason why many go to bed weeping and wishing they had never met us? What if and what if we are also hurting inside? Maybe we should just play the game and act as if its real… maybe we’d find true love in the process!

I.

The morning elements are whispering, the birds are whistling and the breeze echoes a beautiful morning. The silver cloud gradually giving way to a clear blue sky while the moon journeys back into another country—her business in this city is done for now. The very best time to rise and shine is now… the best time to wake up and make up for your break ups. But for Nate, he’s done loving and all he wants to do now is to play games—hardcore games!

“Good morning dude!” Willy mumbles as he rolls the blanket away from his body. Dressed in his pyjamas, he stretched and gave a loud yawn while rubbing his palm over his face. He stole a glance at Nate; who was busy with his laptop, he sighed and shook his head. Nate and Willy have been roommates for five years where they rented a flat apartment downtown. They were friends in college; the five and six type. The apartment speaks well of guys that actually doesn’t care about what their room looks like. Right from the sitting room, its gives a clear sign that these guys don’t just care about what any other person might think of their room. Nate has a musical studio where he runs his business as a musician and a disc jockey. Willy on the other hand is an artist and has a shop where he places his artwork for exhibition. The sitting room serves as dumping ground for both musical instruments and painting tools—clumsy! On the wall are frames of artworks and antiques that Willy has saved enough money to bought from the museum.

“Sometimes I wonder if I won’t end up killing you one day!” Willy added as he made for the bathroom. “We have a knife in the kitchen!” Nate countered while he smiles to himself.

“You know what they use to say about people bearing Nate?” Willy asked from the bathroom while he pressed the toothpaste to his brush. “That we love to snub people bearing Willy?” Nate countered again while focusing on his laptop and working his fingers over the keyboard.

“You guys are bunch of suckers! Remember the Nate we use to have then at college?” Willy asked.

“Oh! That one whose girlfriend wants me to date her because his boyfriend was too passive!” Nate said and laughed mildly. “Oh dear! You son of a cow! Will you ever forget? That same Nate arranged your falling in love with Joan. He was your best friend then…” Nate cut in.

“Cut that crap boy! Don’t mention Joan again. Not when I’m there…” Willy cut in.

“Oh! Now, you don’t want to hear her name again? A month ago, thought that name used to hypnotize you… the only source of your smile and all those love shit!” Willy said as he turns on the shower.

“That was a month ago and not now and you know that!” Nate said irritatingly.

“I called her yesterday anyway… asked her why she broke your heart. You know the reply she gave?” Nate was silent. “Said she found someone better than you… someone who knows her true feelings and…” Nate cut in!

“Just shut the fuck up! Shut your damn mouth!” Nate bellowed closing his laptop. “We are both done and I see no reason why you have to call her again or talk some shit with her… she’s found someone better, fine! So have I!” Nate concluded standing up from the bed and placing his laptop on the top of the drawer besides the bed!

Willy laughed sarcastically!

“Ah! So my dearest friend has found love again! Will you ever learn bro? That love does nothing to us but to harm us and…” Nate cut in again.

“Love harms you not me! By the way, I never mentioned it that I’ve found love again…” Willy cuts in. “So, what did you find?”

“A game!” Nate said smiling. “A game?” Willy questioned sounding confused. “Tell me more boy!”

“Good morning Willy. Enjoy your bath while it last!” Nate gave out a mocking laugh as he whistles enthusiastically and made for the door that leads to the sitting room.

“Hey dude… You aren’t walking out on me; are you?” Willy bellowed from the bathroom.

“No… I’m only treating your f-up!” Nate said and banged the door.

II.

Kate stood up from her chair after dropping the call that has requested her attention at the reception hall. She was a bit perplexed. Why would her attention be requested for at the reception hall? Or does she have a visitor? She was not expecting any guest neither has she given anyone appointment. Whoever is requesting for her attention must have a good reason for bringing her down five floors from her office. Thanks to the elevator. Adjusting her gown, she let out a deep sigh and walked out.

Kate is a staff in the modelling agency that has survived the harsh competitions from other modelling agency. The tussle and struggle for power and dominance over other agency became the main target and dream of the agency and that every staff must work toward. Kate is still a staff because she met the target given to her—a male model.

Some twenty one months ago, when Kate was in search of a male model and her job at stake, she plunged into series of adventure, ones that has ultimately shaped her mindsets and philosophies about some certain phenomenon of life; philosophies that has now formed the very basis of her believe and that has defined her character tremendously in her relationship with her co-staffs and every admirer. Being a modelling agent at first looks quite easy as it veils her from being hovered around by desperate admirers and every other play-boy that litters the city; not until when she was in search of a male model. We live the life of give and take: that’s what we are made to believe and Kate wasn’t spared of this ugly truth. Every prospect wants to cement a relationship that’s stronger than just an agent to model relationship, they wanted something more… and Kate wasn’t ready to give it out. Not to a model that she’s recruiting!

She was able to resist the charms of the male models that won’t work with her except she gives them her heart in return. “You work to get paid, not to get my heart!” Kate will often say when putting up her defence to persisting models. There was even an instance when a model insisted on forfeiting his salary and endorsement money if Kate could just say yes—that was a big temptation! However, Kate premonition tells her that, such relationship won’t last; ones built upon the love of money and then her worst nightmare might just be closer like the doom’s day: Heartbreak! If there’s one thing that we all dread most in relationship so much so that we’d give an arm to avoid it, its heartbreak. And that’s why when many holds the belief of love being harmful even to a high esteem, we can’t say that they are wrong or question their ideology or sense of reasoning.

But then, it only takes an expert before a horse is forced to drink water even after being led to the stream. And when John finally came, he came as a model meant for business and not falling in love. He was formal and official. He does not care about how his agent looks like. Kate could still remember when they first met at a restaurant where she had requested him to come for business discussion—

Kate entered into the restaurant looking radiant as ever. The restaurant is an exquisite one, built to suit the taste of the money-bags in the city. However, if you can afford their services, you are also welcome. For average earners, such places is limited to once in a year and that’s preferably Christmas, when you’d have saved enough money to take your families for launch often not buying more than snacks and soft drinks. But for the ‘lower caste’ of the economy, such places are no go area. And for Kate to be able to afford their services so much so that she’d chose the restaurant as a rendezvous point for business meetings, her purse must actually be weighty.

After waiting for some minutes that seems endless like eternity, John walked in counting his steps like he’ll do in a runway. John attached importance to his body build up as a necessary tool in being a successful model. Having modelled for other top agencies in the country as a freelancer, he became a hot cake wanted by every modelling agency when he announced his decision to seal a permanent deal with any worthy agency. Kate would have contacted him before now, but the fear of failing to bring him to the company is the beginning of her search for other hungry models.

John walked in, attracting attention from people who identifies him as being the most wanted model in the country. Whispers begin to develop into noise and then the crush to have him sign autographs and then the usual picture sessions with fans. Kate started feeling uncomfortable with the whole scenario and was about leaving when John broke free from the clusters of his fan. Kate sighed and took her seat back. John was dressed in a blue blazer and a white trouser. The blazer brought out the masculinity in John as it fits perfectly to his muscled body. His hair was neatly treated and he kept a clean shave: those things constitute to the charms that sends ladies crashing at his feet. Kate could only stare at the epitome of ‘male beauty’ that parades her front. He took his seat and Kate waved the waiter to take order.

“I don’t think I need any of those things they offer here. Can we please get down to business?” Kate was taken aback. She stared at John and he stared back at her too. Kate was like, ‘not even a little courtesy?’ And John was like ‘I don’t care!’ Kate sighed and re-adjusted herself. She swallowed hard and her heart thumps faster.

“I’m Kate…” John cuts in.

“I know who you are and I know your agency. Can we please go straight to the contract clauses and see if it’s something that I can accept!” John concluded.

“Okay!” Kate said blushing and re-adjusting herself again. She reached out for her bag and brought out the contract files. She opened it to the first page while she traced the wordings with her pen as she reads it out. “It’s a deal of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars per annum. Photo shoot expenses are on the agency. Holiday tour to five cities around the world per year with all expense paid. An official car with an official house. The deal expires after three years. Within these three years, the agency expects your total cooperation and your ability to adapt to various working conditions. The contract is renewable after the three years have elapsed but will be based on previous clauses and a little increase in the endorsement money. You can however choose to renew the contract or…”

John cuts in again.

“Can I make use of your pen?” John asked leaning over the table.

“Sure!” Kate said and handed over the pen to him. “Where do I append my signature?” John asked. Kate opened to the agreement page and John signed accepting the contract and sealing a deal with Kate’s agency! Just like that? Just like that! Kate was flabbergasted to her very spine. The most wanted model in the country just signed a contract with her agency and courtesy of her. But wait… that looks quite easy. She was expecting a tough negotiation and maybe a consequent fall out. The news going around the media is that John is not ready to seal a deal with any agency that can’t afford to pay him one million dollar per annum. And of course, it’s not just a rumour because just last week, a rival agency failed to buy him over with eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What then happened? Kate was buried deep into her thought and was oblivious of the absence of John. She woke up from her thought when a great noise was coming through from outside. She looked around and saw John outside taking picture with his fans. She sighed and was about parking up the contract file when she saw a note on the table scribbled down by John.

Will get to know you better some other days. I only acted on what you called me for!”

“What I called him for?” Kate thought to herself aloud. She sank deep into her thought again trying to phantom what John meant. “Will get to know me better some other days…” Yes, that is very clear and concise; it shows that John is not interested in getting acquitanted with her today. But she called him for business and… wait… “That’s it!” Kate exclaimed. She had just remembered. She had called John yesterday fixing appointment with him and has gone to warn him that’s it’s a purely business meeting and no string attached. How quick she forgets! It seems the ‘masculine beauty’ possessed by John had weakened her defence and left her vulnerable but John being a man of integrity—so it seems—decided to honour her words. All through the meeting, John could feel her insecurity and her lack of confidence; he could only smile to himself. “She does not have an idea of who is sitting in her front!” Kate wasn’t to be blamed. Her past experiences with other models has put her on the defensive line. However, John is no different from other models but his discretion and his circumspection has just given him an edge over other models. If there’s one thing that made him to sign the contract, it’s Kate. What other models would have negotiated verbally, he just did without uttering a word. Kate can’t seem to get John over her mind. Why would he act on what she told him so strictly that he does not even care to know her name? Was he trying to tell Kate that she’s not important to him than the business that’d fetched him money? Kate kept turning these questions over her mind as she packed her bag and ready to leave. Deep down her soul, the crush to know John better engulfed her fiercely and she longs to meet him again under no business condition! John has just bought over Kate’s heart without telling her to sell it off. Silence, sometimes is like a magnet and nonchalance is the force that draws ladies’ mind towards a man whom flirt is expected from!

That was twenty one months ago, a lot has gone to happened between Kate and John ever since then. It’s almost two years now that John signed that deal all because of Kate. After knowing the true personality of John, there have been fall-outs between the two. John has never gotten the chance to hold on to what brought him to Kate’s agency. But John is determined to win Kate’s heart no matter what. Modelling job is not his point of interest for signing that deal, in fact, he has made up his mind to establish his own modelling agency and that’s when he announced that he would only signed for any agency that’s ready to pay him a million dollar per annum—a sum he knew no agency would dare pay for a single model. But when he saw Kate, he knew he had found just what he has been looking for all these years. And he was ready to sacrifice his ambitions in pursuit of true love andthis he did.

Kate got to the receptionist and exchanged pleasantries.

“Here’s a parcel for you!” The receptionist exclaimed as she held out the well wrapped parcel. Kate wasn’t surprised to see the parcel. This is the fifth time she’s receiving this very parcel with the same wrap this month. She sighed and let out a cold smile while she collected the parcel and headed back to her office. She got to her office, locking the door with its key. She made to un-wrap the parcel. But then she paused for a moment, starring at the parcel sceptically as if to throw it away. She has been receiving this same parcel for months and this is the fifth time this month from an unknown source. She has told the receptionist not to collect any parcel again as its becoming embarrassing and annoying but the receptionist confessed that she has always met the parcel on her table and a note containing Kate’s name taped to it.

Kate sighed and began to un-wrap the parcel. Occasionally she would stop to see if she could catch a glimpse of what was embedded inside but it seems this very parcel was wrapped more carefully than the other ones. Kate kept un-wrapping and was losing her patience. She began to tear the parcel and then the gift lays bare at her hand. Her eyes were glowing with awe and she was submerged into an unending surprise at what lies in her hand. Her mouth dropped open in amazement as she stares at herself. The parcel was a frame of her portrait artistically drawn and painted. This of no doubt is a touch of a professional and must be one of such oeuvre. She turned to the back and saw a note glued to it. Still in surprise, she removed the note and she nearly dropped the frame out of angst. She saw a telephone number there and a name: Willy!

III.

“Today has been great so far, how do you plan to spend the rest of the day?” Selena asked as she parked the threads of her hair backward and bond it with a ribbon while she stares at the mirror in her front. She has just finished making up for the biggest party to be held in her college and she dares not miss it—not this particular one where men and guys alike are around scouting for hot chicks!

“Catch the last bit of every fun enclosed in the tight walls of this evening!” Sophia said as she emerges from the bathroom wrapping herself in a white woolly towel and fondling her hair. She smiled at Selena and moved towards the mirror—

“I wonder if guys who never fell in love with me are not missing a hell of lot of things!” Sophia added as she rubs the cream against her skin leisurely. She smirked and stole a glance at Selena who only chuckled.

“Things like what?” Selena countered while she sits on the bed and reaching out for her phone she has placed on the pillow earlier on.

“Do I have to tell you babe? That I’m the hottest chick in this college and…” Selena cuts in. “And the most unreasonable dater! I’m getting bored with your self- appraisal… let’s talk about something else… something more…” Sophia cuts in.

“Something more Selena right? Something is wrong with you dear! Why don’t you like hearing about my… my impeccable beauty and…” Selena cuts in more calmly.

“Because you said the same thing yesterday and three months and a year ago! Look, there are better things to talk about. Especially tonight. Something big is happening… Can’t you see?” Selena concluded looking into Sophia eyes. She smirked again and looked away to the mirror.

Selena and Sophia are final year students of the college. They have being living together since their sophomore year. Though the two are very beautiful, they are known for their slutty characters. They don’t believe in love, they believe in games and money. They have never had any reason to fall in love with any guy no matter how angelic he presents himself. “We are here to catch fun and not to commit ourselves to just one man. Life is too short to be bored. Too short to stay with just a man, too short to be bound by whims of emotions and caprices of feelings and too short to believe in true love!” It’s their philosophy and nothing has been able to shake it. One begins to wonder if there exists a person who doesn’t know what love is; those who don’t believe in its gospel and are not ready to practice it. And of course they exists—one hundred and one million of them! And there are many with rigid and aggressive views about true love being in extinction. Weird? If they say true love gives us inner peace, why do we have to shed tears again? Why do we have our hearts broken into shred with unpickable fragments? Why does the same person that had sworn heaven and earth that they’d be there for us have to leave us when we need a shoulder to cry on? Why do they says we are their worst mistakes ever when yesterday, it all seems like we are going to spend eternity together in the cosmic world of love; cocooned and hid under the canopies of fantasy and fairy tales? The answers to these questions have brought about emotional rebel and indifference and even indignation towards the love-mongers! And now they tend to ask, what conviction do we that believes in true love have?

Since love won’t stop harming us and they said we can’t do without loving; playing pranks on love the way it does to us won’t be a step too far. So that when we are done playing our games, we’d look back and smile and say, ‘no love found, no love lost!’

Selena sighed while she stares at Sophia who is looking back at her through the mirror.

“And what’s so special about tonight? You’ve being emphasizing on this since morning!” Sophia said looking back at Selena.

Selena chuckled and smiled faintly.

“I just got a date with the DJ that’s coming to play in the party today. Don’t know how he got my username on Facebook but we’ve being chatting for three days now and he said he’d love it if we both get to know each other better…” Sophia cuts in.

“What is his name?” Sophia asked nonchalantly as she combs her hair.

Selena hesitated as she was not sure if that’s the right question that Sophia ought to ask. She however waived it off and went on to check her phone in search of the name.

“So, you don’t even know his name?” Sophia chuckled and smirked again—a clear trait of pride!

“I got it… his name is Nate!” Selena exclaimed.

IV.

The sun seems to tarry in its journey back into the cloud as it sits gallantly against the cloud appearing in a glowing golden colour extending its tentacle of brightness across the horizon; bringing summer to its climax and sending humans running for haven against the blazing hotness.

The city gets even more busy at this time as more people now litters the road. The usual hurly burly and the noise and the honks and the nonchalance that everyone puts on: the traffic jam and the officers at loggerhead with drivers and even pedestrian; the usual impatience and the normal insults. The outside world lacks the kind of peace we wants to experience and we therefore tend to search for peace inwardly. With no peace and the daily ravage of time: the wars we fought within our souls bringing us down to the edge of survival and losing hope with every tick of the clock, our emotions rising and falling like the tides with our unending anguish façaded behind insouciance demeanours cum the happy-go-lucky attitude; we all sought after Ivory Towers that’d hide us from the ugly reality and keep us safe in fantasies and Illusions. Only love has been given the power to do so—only when it is with the right person. The search for that right person is what that leads us all into believing that love is capable of turning our daily strives into thrive. This isn’t any sort of philosophy, it’s just the ugly truth hidden deep in the abyss of ignorance and covered up by beautiful and soothing lies.

But then, the truth will not continue to lie deep down there in the bottomless pit of ignorance and lies, it has now sprout forth and the once mesmerizing lies has been disarmed. Those that knows the truth now wants to play the game of love hoping to get back at it and maybe discover the real truth behind what we’ve all erroneously termed true love in today’s romance world.

********

Nate was at his studio recording the beats that he will be using in one of the hottest party that would be hosted in the city. Nate has for the last three years been the hottest disc jockey and has climbed his way up to the top, rolling with the celebrities of the time. The college that is hosting this year “All Fun Night” used to be Nate’s college where he graduated from some six years ago. He has always being in love with music and everything that booms—strong hip-hop beats. Against his parent’s dissuasion of him being into music, he chose to ignore a banking job that was offered to him after his college. Having read Banking and Finance, he made his A-grade and came out with first class. But the true passion for music that burns fiercely in him won’t allow him to sit duck on one office chair making accounts for money he never get to spend. It was hard; those first two-three years, being away from his family who has spent a lot to invest into his future. The breakdowns and the melancholies, the emotional wars and the constant fierce battle of his thought on choices to make. The furrows of worries and anxiety that litters his face during those moments made him to chose what that has now defined his character and feeling. One thing that has re-sharpened his believes and re-moulded his philosophies; one thing that he’s now determined to get back at, damning the consequences or the aftermath result—love!

But isn’t it funny how we humans often reason? Isn’t it absurd to want to take revenge against something that lies within our soul? Something we can’t touch nor harm… one thing that we were all being made to believe to have shaped and formed the world we live in today. But if we may question the lie in the truth—the age-long fallacy, can we ask thus: where’s the love they said that moulded the world? Hiding somewhere or resting her tender cheek on her velvety palm and starring at us as we all enjoy the sweet pains she had created? Or perhaps, she’s long extinct! Love of course is long extinct and the peace that intertwined with it is also long dead living us stranded on a pilgrimage journey to the hallucinated wonderland of delusions and ultimately ebbed us into pains—ones that have the power to re-construct our feelings and emotions. We only hope we don’t become die hard players in case the said true love decides to return from her exile and extinction. We only hope!

“Nate… Nate…” Willy bellowed as he banged the door opened. Nate was forced to removed his headphones and put an abrupt end to the beat he was mixing.

“What the heck is wrong with you man? Why are you screaming my name like that?” Nate demanded furiously starring at Willy irritatingly.

“Relax bro! I didn’t scream your name… I only shouted…” Nate cuts in. “It makes no difference. You’ve just interrupted my beat!” Nate concluded sounding frustrated.

Willy sighed.

“I’m sorry man… screws me I didn’t know you are… but how the hell am I suppose to know you doing a beat…” Nate cuts in more exasperatedly.

“The hell you should know… For crying out loud, this’ a studio… any crazy thing can be happening in here at any time… I can be doing music production and all those sort!” Nate concluded eyeing Willy naughtily. He walked across the room and took his seat in one of the sofa placed at the far end of studio room. The wall and the roof of the room were padded. The wall however was adorned with frames of arts courtesy of Willy.

He motioned to Willy to come over who was still starring at Nate in disbelieve. He walked gently over to him and sat down adjacent to him on another sofa.

“I’m sorry I scolded you like how your dad used to do when you were still seven!” Nate said jokingly and smirked.

Willy chuckled and shook his head in affirmation.

“So, what brought you to my Masonic dome of crazy music production…?” Willy cuts in. “Please, please, please… spares me those never-winning-Grammy-grammars of yours! You call this a dome or a hole… a rat hole for whistling and noise production!” Willy slammed. They both looked at themselves and burst into laughter.

“You got me there man! Nice one!” Nate said giving Willy a thumb up. “Excuse me please!” He stood up and walked towards the chest of drawers that was meant to keep files and music records. He opened the second one and brought out a wine and two wine glasses. He waived the wine at Willy and smiled. Willy chuckled and smiled back. “Pardon that drawer if it does not chill the wine the way you want it to; it’s not a refrigerator you know!” He said and was still smiling while he works the wine-opener around the bottle cover. After twisting the opener here and there, the cover fell off and some of the content popped up foaming and streaming down the bottle’s trunk.

“Sometimes, a glass of wine can bring the craziest and the strongest beat ever listened to in this city. So, I have to keep one with me always!” Nate added as he poured the wine into the two glasses. Willy seems to be lost in the world of Nate. He’s quite enthusiast this evening. Was it the game he told him about in the morning? Or the college party that he’ll be the one throwing the beat and dictating the dance steps? Or the two combined? Willy nodded and said to himself—“That’s one hell of an inspiration!”

“Pardon?” Nate requested as he sips his wine!

“No… not you!” he sighed and drained his own content of the wine. He poured himself another one and gulped it down to half. He dropped the wine glass and let out a deep sigh. Nate noticed his friend’s angst but kept quiet. He allowed silence to reign for some moments and then he decided to wrestle power from it.

“What’s wrong with you? What’s the problem with you? You got any?” Nate asked curiously starring into Willy’s eyes.

“Yeah! I think I just got myself into some sort of games I never planned well.” Willy said and sighed again.

“Good… it’s not too late now that you’ve consulted the master game player!” Nate said and smirked while he sips his wine again.

“I think I will need your help at tonight’s party in the college. It’s not really a game, it’s a charade and I’m out there to prove something you guys believe to be false to be true!” Willy said starring back at Nate.

“That sounds interesting! What kind of charade is that? And with whom are you playing it with now that you want to question some of my philosophies that I’m yet to be aware of… Let’s get it rolling from here… Who is the she?” Nate asked with all candour as if he’s into something professional.

“She works in a modelling agency…” Nate cuts in. “That’s wow… she must be hot then. I can’t wait to see her at the party!” Nate concluded and looked more serious this time around. These are the things that spark his adrenaline most, after music; love games!

Willy sighed. He looked at the padded roof, shook his head out of frustration and finally speaks out—

“Her name is Ella!”

V.

The idea of playing tricks on love is not a-just-nonexistent-fictitious-expression that exists only in the abyss of love’s victims minds. The gospel of playing love pranks has continued to engulf the contemporary society and has extended its philosophies even to the ones who had never experienced the pains of love. When you see someone who is not just ready to commit himself to a relationship and enjoys flirting as part of his own way of catching fun and freeing himself from the bounding chains of love is not only a true believer of this gospel but an ardent follower! Why do you think the victims of love have decided to shy away from the sheer emotional-spasm that engulfs many when the word love is mentioned? Why do you think those who never had the cause to cry over what was meant to bring them joy also decided to join the crusade? We need not read any book to answer this question. They all share one fear in common. They all dread the same pain that comes with loving—Heartbreak! The degree at which individuals can handle heartbreak differs and varies depending on the kind of relationship such was into. If you’re the type that believes in “we-will-die-together” sort of relationship, then there’s all tendencies that when you get heartbroken; suicide, exile, self-ostracism and emotional unstableness would all be your order of the day.

However, this fear only exists in a paranoiac mind of an individual who thinks every relationship will ends in heartbreak (let this not appears as a conflict of thought). Because for every optimistic individual who just got his/her heartbroken, s/he is always looking forward to meeting another person who’s going to make things right by even making a squared pegs fit in perfectly in a round hole! From here, we may tend to ask, why the pessimistic attitude of the other? Why can’t they just be optimistic the way other people are? Why can’t they just put away the fear and fall in love for love sake? And that last question looks absurd! That takes us back to the core subject of this debate (if I may use that word); everyone is looking for the long gone true-love! Now, the feeling that true love is no longer in existence—based on the experiences that individual must have had—brings the fear that the end point of any relationship that’s not based on true love is often heartbreak! And that’s just a scratch to the real reason. At this labyrinth juncture of confusing thoughts, let’s ask ourselves this seeming paradoxical question, “What of the true love(s) that used to end not just in heartbreak but sorrows, anguish and an eternal separation?” still confused? Lets flash our movie memory back to this classical movie of the passing decades; the seeming real but fictitious idea of the writer—Romeo and Juliet is a model example. Does the end depict to us a good ending of true love(s)? Maybe it’s just the tragic-romance genre that exists deep in the writer’s school of imaginations? Right? Maybe then; the now players are all afraid of the ‘maybe’ that exists in our answer! Let’s say if Romeo had been a player and a believer of playing tricks on love, he wouldn’t have killed himself irrespective of the circumstances that cloud him. Maybe he would have gone to live a fulfilled life afterwards. But how is he going to handle the guilt that’d drenched his heart later in life? Guilt at this point might be concisely defined as the wrong you admits it’s wrong in your mind. If it’s right based on your discretion, there’s no need therefore to feel guilty! “Those that kill and still pray to God for more strength to do so are in no way guilty of their action so far their conscience pricks them not!” The society however has the power to label some actions morally right and wrong, but in our contemporary world, it’s only a question of state of mind! Against the mores and values and norms of the society, an individual might choose out of personal conviction what seems right to him and that which is wrong. After all, what made up the societal values and norms today are product of human’s idea! But do we stand a chance of defending ourselves against a colossally-labelled criminal action? No! Not against a society of organized set of rules and laws. However, playing pranks on love; stepping backward at the edge of heartbreak (damning the feelings of the other in the process) is no crime that the society can hold us guilty of! Hence, the guilt that comes after is no guilt if our conscience feels right about it!

*************

Ella phone began to ring. She was about leaving her office when her phone vibrates and then starts ringing. She sighed out of frustration and turned back to pick the call. Ella starred at the unknown number that’s calling her and made to drop the call but on a second thought, she picked it. Who knows, it might be one of their client.

“Hello?” Ella enquired looking curious.

“Is this Ella?” The voice demanded almost immediately.

“Ye…yes… and who am I speaking with please?” Ella asked looking more curious this time.

“My identity does not matter now… I have a business proposal for you…”

The voice rattles on as Ella’s countenance changed from curiosity to smirking and then a few nod and a smile of satisfaction. Deal done!

Ella dropped the call and smiled. She sighed and went out of the office. She had just made a deal worth five hundred bucks. But with who? She doesn’t know too! But a deal is a deal—once it’s a good one.

*************

Kate was working on her desktop when she heard a knock on her office door. Who could that be? Has Willy finally decided to come out from the shadows before the agreed time? Maybe it’s not him, maybe it’s John—that pester! Kate looked at the door and sighed. She stood up and went to the door counting her steps. She’s sure she doesn’t want anybody in her office presently. Not when she’s busy with the agency’s works. She had stayed back from going home to help her round up the projects she’s doing and then she would go to the college party to see what that Willy looks like. He must have got nerves to be playing with her feelings for quite a long time. She only hopes he worth the games he’s been playing with her. She only hopes she’s going to like him. Like him? A guy that could be sending her flowers and her portrait then the request to meet with her in a party must be one bold guy or man. And not like John who’d spend his whole time loafing around her office and then the usual blushing looks and the boring chats. Damn! He’s just too boring! She wonders often why such a handsome model would lack the skill with which to woo the lady of his choice rather than being pathetic and passive. To be candid, John is a lovely guy with a loveable heart but everything is just complicated. He first brought the impression of him not being interested in Kate and she loves him for that. How ironical! But just when he began to show his true feelings, Kate became irritated with the fact that he covered up his true feelings to get closer to her—and that seems to be the only way. A man that knows what he wants wouldn’t have done that.

However, whatever John looks like, Kate still nurses a soft spot for him in her heart. But Willy, that seems to be an escape from the bounding ties that ties her heart to John. She definitely can’t wait to be at the college party. The only fear is what if Willy is a sucker just like every other blind date she had been into? What if that Willy turns out to be just the perfect (I’m not sure there is a perfect being) person she wants? What if Willy turns out to be John?

She sighed just as she was about to turn the knob. She then swallowed hard. She’s tensed and anxious. She turns the knob and slightly let the door slides towards her as she stares face to face with someone that’s she’s not expecting. Not at this moment when everyone had gone home.

“I guess you’re not expecting me at this time since it’s not a formal meeting!” The guest said as both walks back into the office with Kate motioning to the guest to take a seat.

“No! Not when I’m busy!” Kate said while she stole a glance at the one sitting in her front. “What brought you to my office at such an odd hour?” Kate asked leaning forward over her desk.

Ella sighed and leaned forward too.

“The answer you wish to find in the college party!” Kate countenance changed to curiosity. She adjusted herself on her seat and leaned even more forward.

“How do you know about the college party…? I mean how come you know I’d be going?” Kate asked curiously.

Ella smirked and chuckled.

“Anyone like you who has been receiving strange gifts from an unknown person would want to go!” Ella said and stared into Kate’s eyes and was like, haven’t you been collecting strange gift from an unknown person? Kate blushed and leaned backward totally perplexed. Does that means everyone in the agency knows about the mysterious gifts? Gosh! She has been working in an agency that pries into her privacy. This must be from the receptionist. That woman can’t keep a little secret. Kate was exasperated at the thought of everyone knowing about the gifts.

“Em… I don’t understand you.” Kate stammers as she tries to find the right word.

Ella leaned backward too and stared at the frames on the wall. She scanned the frames and got her eyes transfixed on one. It’s the portrait of Kate. She turned to Kate and sighed while she smirks.

“You sure want to know who had painted that without your knowledge!” Ella said pointing at the portrait on the wall. How on earth did she get to know about that?

“Do you know the artist?” Kate asked more perplexed. She is not even sure if she’s asking the right question. She just wants to know what Ella knew.

Ella sighed again and stood up. She walked leisurely around the office while Kate’s gaze follows her about. She stopped at the window and turned back to Kate with her back against the window shielding the penetrating sun.

“You’ve never liked me as a co-staff. That I know. But you’re going to need me throughout the party today if you want to know what I know; that some people are crazily in love with you without you realizing it.” She said and walked to Kate’s desk resting her arms on it.

“Rendezvous point: The Garden Park. 20:00; from there we move to the college to seek your answers!” Ella concluded and walked out without looking back.

Kate was left transfixed on her chair with her gaze locked on Ella as she strides out of her office. Kate has never liked Ella—and that’s just the truth. Ella is the type that actually cares less about what other thinks of her. Some thinks of her as a slut; and that never bothers her because at that moment, she was dating the CEO of the agency and the managing director at the same time. And some has gone to describe her as the very ‘corporate-hooker’ of the agency. For all she cares. No one having such label is ever found in Kate friend’s list and Ella is not an exception.

It’s no secret that Ella was once having a crush on John even to the point of inviting him over for a dinner and then seducing him… John had to pick a fake call to break free from her. Friends of Ella said she once told them that she allowed John to go not that he was able to trick her; but she was beginning to find him boring and passive. The call was an escape for not only John but also Ella. And she’s not ignorant of the fact that John is trying to win Kate’s heart. There’s hardly anything hidden in the agency.

Kate sighed as Ella closed the door. She ran her two palms against her hair and down to her face. She let out a deep sigh and shook her head out of frustration. Whatever Ella knows about her portrait and the artist and the mysterious gifts, she too wants to know. And she can’t wait to be at the Garden Park then the college. Whoever this mysterious Willy is, she can’t wait to meet him and demand an explanation for the gifts. But wait, what if Willy has not being the one sending the gifts but just the portrait—that’s one thought Kate don’t want to nurse.

While buried in her thought, she got an idea. She’s going to call Willy now and clarify some things. She picked her phone and dialled Willy’s number and it begin to ring.

“Hey Kate! What’s up with you?” The voice of Willy came through from the other end of the call.

“Willy…” Kate ignored the pleasantries. “Do you know a lady called Ella? She works in my agency.” Kate asked pressing the phone against her ear.

VI.

The sun gradually draws the cloud against itself. The air blows languidly across the horizon. Then the mild drizzling of rain and the lightning and claps of thunder. The sky glows as the lightning passes through the thick layer of clouds now forming into clusters. The clustered cloud broke forth with a heavy clap of thunder and down came the fast-pouring and hard-hitting rain, hitting hard on the roof. As the rain pours down heavily, the darkness sets in. The rain would cease for a while and then it will begin again. It does this continuously as if it is on routine…

Now, it’s your turn to punch the keyboard and complete this thrilling story and stand a chance to win a cash price.

Send your stories (not more than 5000 words) to [email protected]. Entries close on May 30th, 2017.

All due process would be communicated to the writers through their respective emails. Now, let’s get down to completing our story. I look forward to having your story.

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The Charade

  • ISBN: 9781370492817
  • Author: Daniel Olas
  • Published: 2017-05-13 17:50:15
  • Words: 8403
The Charade The Charade