Mr. Benjamin sighed, ‘If what you said about Cassie is true, why you think she is still in the palace? Hell had no fury than an enslaved woman. Your sister is smart and intelligent; she would’ve found her way out. But, maybe the palace has become her second home.’

Elena could see where her father was going, ‘Nah, Cassie never liked the King. She considered him arrogant and proud. I don’t think she had feelings for him.’

He shrugged, ‘Sometimes love is not felt directly. Sometimes, we try to get rid of what we truly feel by seeing the worst in object of our admiration.’

Elena pondered on her father’s words carefully. She wanted to ask him another question, when Eno returned with a bright smile on her face.

‘Sam asked me out on a dinner date, but it’s not here! I am going to one of the best hotels for my Valentine!’ She was all smiles; she couldn’t wait to meet with Sam on that beautiful night.

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‘Your majesty, why don’t you quit playing the games? I think Princess Cassie likes you and you should go for it,’ Pelumi advised. The King had asked her to meet him at a bar which was a bit far away from the palace. He had come up with a plan that would make Cassie more jealous.

He wanted Pelumi to pose as his girlfriend. He wanted Cassie to feel like he was having an affair with her. This plan was most suitable, because Cassie wasn’t aware that Pelumi was his cousin. He just couldn’t wait for her reaction.

‘Don’t tell me that Pelumi. Cassie is attracted to me. She wants to hide what she feels, why can’t I play my own games?’ Yemi asked.

Pelumi sighed, ‘Your games could backfire, just like her baggy dress did. While she’d been making that dress, I am sure she never thought you’d miss dinner. I know you think your idea is good, but it could fail on someone like Cassie who has been through a lot.’

Yemi caressed his staff of office. He’d thought Pelumi would agree to his plan easily. She wasn’t into it, and he didn’t want to force it.

‘Fine, if you wouldn’t help me, I’d get one of my old girlfriends to do it.’ He said to her, while watching her reaction.

Pelumi lifted her shoulders in indifference. She just wished the King would understand the reason for her advice. Though he had involved her in his personal life, she couldn’t be too forward with her opinion. Yemi was still the King.

‘You don’t approve?’ Yemi read her shrug as disapproval. One of the things he had learned while being groomed to be a King was to listen to the opinions of others. And he would apply that same knowledge to this case.

Pelumi could see that the King wanted to hear her thoughts on his plans. Well, she didn’t like them. She had just discovered something about Cassie that could make the King change his mind, about his plant to make her jealous.

‘You asked me to find out everything I could about Cassie right?’ Pelumi clutched tightly to her black purse.

Yemi nodded, ‘Yes I did. Did you find anything else?’ He wondered.

‘Yes, I did. But it is highly confidential. I read part of it. This would help you take your decision.’ Pelumi quietly unzipped the purse and fetched a diary. She had spotted a purse while in Cassie’s room. While Cassie had left for the dining hall, she had sneaked into the room and searched the purse. The yellow diary was the product of her search.

Yemi dropped his staff, and collected the diary. He held it like he normally held his staff. Whatever Cassie had in there was personal, and reading it would make him feel like a terrible person.

‘I don’t think I can do this.’ He was reluctant to go through it.

‘Just read a page. It would give you an insight on the kind of woman you’re dealing with. She is a good woman, your majesty. She has been hurt by a lot of people, you cannot be on that list.’ Pelumi decided she was done with spying on Cassie. She had served the good King to her capacity. She had to return to the palace and finish her duties.

‘I must go now.’ She bowed and rose to her feet. The King was too engrossed in the pages of the yellow book to notice her departure. He wanted to know more about Cassie. He wanted to know the little things that made her happy, and those that made her sad.

The first page spoke of her dreams and how she wanted to become a powerful force in the fashion industry. She planned to get schooled in a fashion institution, but she noted sadly, that there was no money. That broke his heart.

‘Ambitious woman,’ he opened another page.

He was one of the wealthiest men in the world. His wealth had just increased by a hundred of billions, since the discovery of vermillion. He was ready to spend all that he had, just to make her happy. Cassie was different from Eno, she loved him.

She wasn’t after a man’s money, but she was hungry to make her own. Cassie yearned for success and fame. She spent nights creating and working on designs. This explained the reason he had found her in the shop on the night of Christmas.

As he flipped through the pages of the diary, he felt all the emotions Cassie had felt when passing through the numerous breakups. There were eight men in number, and they had all treated her like trash. She had taken a long break from relationships, and buried her time in work.

‘Fool,’ Yemi gritted his teeth angrily as he read a page on a particular guy:

Dear Diary,

May 22, 2009

I’ve always heard of this sort of thing in movies. I never knew Lekan could do this to me. He broke up with me, minutes after I’d raised some money for his fees. And today happens to be my birthday. Will I ever trust any man again? I am hurt. My pride is crushed. I feel used and stupid. And I cannot fight back, I feel helpless.

He could feel her pain and humiliation after discovering that the man she sincerely loved was also sleeping with her best friend, Maria. Yemi wanted to find all these men in her diary, and pound their heads with his fists, until they passed out. How could they treat Cassie with such impunity?

From what he observed, when Cassie fell in love, she felt deeply. He now understood why she had built up a wall of defense against him. She probably thought he was line her ex boyfriends. Her ugly encounters had blurred her mind’s eyes and made her to bundle all men into one class.

‘I can’t do this anymore.’ He closed the diary and made ready to live.

He had feelings for Cassie. And if those feelings were returned in appropriate measure, he would make up for all the pain those guys inflicted on her. There was no need of trying to get her jealous, that would only drive her further from him. Pelumi was right. He had to abort his plans immediately. He had to go straight to Cassie and tell her how he felt. If she refused to open up, he would release her and allow her be with her family. But he prayed she accepted him.

To be continued…

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