Aniekan closed his eyes briefly and inhaled. From the first time that he had seen her, a seed of affection had been planted within him, but he was fighting that growth. He was manipulating his emotions and that wasn’t healthy for anyone, even for him.
Elena wasn’t a child. She was very mature in her thinking and her ways, but he just used her age as an excuse to discredit her. Deep down, he knew that he wouldn’t go long without falling for her charms. Something had to be done.
“Something has to be done,” he whispered and climbed the stairs that would lead to the elevator.
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After her encounter with Regina, she had distracted herself by reading a material about ghosts and unwanted spirits online. Elena was certain that something mysterious was going on in the White House, but she wouldn’t tell anyone about it.
From the article, there were good ghosts and deadly ghosts. She paused and caressed her chin; what sort of ghost was the black figure? Elena tossed the phone on her lap and leaned back on the chair. Her mind was a treasure keep of memories.
At first, she had wanted to ponder on her experience at the White House, but the flashes of her encounter with Regina replayed. Elena wasn’t a fool. She was highly observant and sensitive to people’s actions and statements. She had noticed the fear in Regina’s eyes when she had asked about the wine that she drank.
Why had she behaved like that? Why had she asked?
Elena decided that she had more important things to do than think about the secretary, whom she was now friends with. She straightened on the chair and continued reading the material that she had downloaded.
The black figure hadn’t harmed her in any way, so Elena didn’t consider it evil. She pulled out her jotter, and began to scribble some questions. This would help her to find the answers that she needed.
1- Did anyone die in the White House?
2- Was this person living there?
3- What relationship did this person have with the indwellers?
4- How did she die?
She was about constructing the fifth question when the door flew open, and her secret admirer walked in majestically. Her heart stopped. Time stopped. Their eyes met together. Her chest burned, in yearning for his affection and attention.
Aniekan knew it would be difficult to control his feelings. He had to make a decision; to love her or to push her away. But he couldn’t do that now; the pull in her seductive eyes was powerful. It could bring any man to his knees.
It was the entrance of the secretary and the bellowing of her noisy heels that interrupted the special moment that these two were having. Regina knew that Elena was poisoned, and she had gone home immediately for the antidote, which the mortuary attendant had given to her, after the post mortem. He had done that, thinking that she had also been poisoned like her mother. But he hadn’t. She was safe. Thankfully, she hadn’t thrown the vial away. It will serve a purpose now.
“Um, welcome,” Elena smiled.
“Good day Sir,” Regina bowed her head. She was hesitant to move, as she had not expected to see Aniekan.
Aniekan nodded to both greetings and moved out of the office. He couldn’t face the women now. He couldn’t even stay in the room with Elena! What had he been thinking when he’d asked Elena to share an office with him?
Elena blushed as she stared at his muscled back. She ran a tongue over her lips and drummed her fingers on the table. She liked Aniekan. She really did…
Regina cleared her throat and sauntered towards her table.
“What is that?” Elena rolled her eyes. She knew that the secretary deliberately cleared her throat.
Regina shook her head, “Nothing.” She dropped the vial before Elena and instructed her to pour three drops of the black liquid three times in her meal for five days.
“What is this?” Elena grabbed the vial and ran her eyes over it. Though she had reconciled with Regina, she didn’t trust her completely. What if it was poison?
Regina could read her thoughts in her voice. Elena didn’t have faith in her. She was suspicious of her action. At first, she hadn’t wanted to open up about her mother’s demise, but she had to. She didn’t blame Elena for suspecting her. A stranger didn’t just walk up to you with a vial, accompanied with instructions. She had to explain this…
But what if she explained and Elena still didn’t believe her? That would be a waste of explanation. Regina decided to leave her mother out of it.
“Do you wonder why I asked about the food or drink that you had this morning and who ministered it to you?”
Elena ran her fingers over the bottle. She nodded. She remembered. The vial didn’t have any label. The blackness of the liquid stood out.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” she admitted.
Regina sighed, “I won’t say more. But I’d like you to ask around for ‘cherry powder,’ when you are done, you’ll know what to do.”
Elena didn’t call her back. She simply watched as the secretary marched out of the office, but she didn’t call her back. Regina’s words reechoed in her brain. So she quickly dropped the vial and took her phone.
But no matter how much she searched for ‘cherry powder,’ she couldn’t find anything related to that name. In her confusion, she smacked her hands on the table and her middle finger bent.
“No…ouch!” Elena groaned in pain.
Just then, Aniekan returned to the office. He was shocked to see her in pains. Her eyes mirrored every sensation that went through her body.
He rushed towards her side, “what’s wrong?” He placed one hand on her shoulder, and the other on the table.
The soft touch of his hands seemed to have a magical effect on her body, because the pain from the broken finger ebbed away slowly. It seemed like nothing had happened when he was gone.
She pressed her lips together, “Um, I think I broke my finger…”
“Let me see,” he removed his hand from her shoulder and grabbed her right wrist. He examined the five fingers on her hand, until he found the one that was broken. Aniekan bit his lip, he wanted to laugh.
“What is funny?” Elena had noticed the fire in his eyes.
“Nothing,” he quickly shook his head.
But she knew it was something, so she asked again, “You don’t have to lie.”
He dropped her hand gently on the table and looked into her eyes.
“I thought you were strong, but you were groaning in pain for a little finger pain.” He chuckled.
Elena smiled, “What if I break your finger and let you feel the “little finger pain,” with me?” She snorted and rolled her eyes. Elena was happy to see him laugh. It made him very handsome. And she felt more relaxed around him, in that state.
He grabbed her hand again, “I can fix it, it is just a dislocation, but it would be painful.” He warned.
Elena accepted, “Just make it quick.” She gritted her teeth and waited for the sharp pain that would follow.
Aniekan was about straightening the bone, when a piece of memory flashed through his mind. He had been in this situation with Imaobong before. They had been playing and tossing pillows at one another, before she broke her index finger. She had cried like a baby and he had cajoled her to sleep. While she had travelled to dreamland, he’d carefully worked on her finger. When Imaobong had woken up, she was shocked that the pain was gone.
“Aniekan?” Elena whispered his name. She noticed he was staring at her finger too much. He seemed trapped and lost in another world. What was on his mind?

To be continued…

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