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Lost in a Shadow - Episode 13

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LOST IN A SHADOW
Lost in a Shadow - Episode 13

Written by Chidiogor D-f Nwafor


The saying: you don't know what you have until you lose it, meant more to him now. He felt so empty without her.

"What are you doing here all alone? Looking so melancholy?" A deep feminine voice broke through his thoughts and he looked quickly to the direction the voice had came from. A young girl dressed neatly in a plain black trouser and white shirt tucked in, sat down beside him.
"You're the celebrant and you're looking like a mourner. What an irony. The guests are even happier than you."
"I'm okay." Dave blurted and looked away.
"I didn't say you weren't. I only said you looked like a mourner."
"And what if I told you that is how my face is?" Dave snapped and she laughed heartily. Cool laughter bubbling down her throat.
"I saw how your face brightened up a while ago. You were surprised right?"
"It's a surprise party." Dave chuckled.
"You look good when you smile so smile always." She complimented. Dave looked at her for a minute and then looked away.
"If you continue to look gloom, don't be surprise when the guests pack their bags and leave." She stood up and walked away with her hips swaying sideways. Dave couldn't help but stare. Who was this beautiful lady and where was she from? He had thought. A slight touch on the shoulder brought him out of his reverie and he looked at Chike who was grinning at him.
"So you knew about this and you didn't say anything eh?"
"If I said something, it wouldn't be a surprise anymore."
"Touché!" Dave smiled.
"Congrats on your new four legs." Dave laughed and thanked him
 "Where is Stella?"
"She's not here." Dave's entire demeanor changed.
"I can see that. That's why I asked. Dummy!" Chike rolled his eyes but Dave didn't respond.
"You guys having a fight?"
"Something like that." Dave rubbed his face.
"And you're the cause?"
"Something like that." Dave replied and suddenly they began to laugh.

Paul was sitting down with some of his friends, laughing and talking. Mere looking at him, one would think he had won a lottery. Dave wanted to ask him who the girl from the last few minutes was but looking at Paul's excited appearance, Dave didn't want to disturb.

Dave searched for the young lady. He was already getting bored with the party and he wanted to talk to someone. Maybe she had left. He thought as he made way to his room.
"Are you running away?" This cool deep voice stopped him again. "If the celebrant goes, then who are we celebrating?"

Dave turned around to see her standing opposite the stairs, staring at him with folded arms and raised brow.
"The guests wouldn't notice my absence. They are too busy entertaining themselves." He smiled warmly at her.
"I did notice."
"Well, you're different."
"Different?"
"Yea. A different kind of guest. Would you like a drink?" He smiled at her and she accepted. They moved to a sofa chair with their drinks in hands.
"I haven't seen you before. You must be friends with my dad."
She smiled at him and replied. "Nice speculations. I work at the same bank with your father. I helped organize this party."

Dave marvelled at the deepness of her voice. It was so clear and cool, just like chilled water.
"You guys did a good job, Miss?"
"Mrs! Mrs Bola."

Dave's eyes bulged out immediately as he stared at her fingers. There was a beautiful ring on her left finger. He hadn't noticed this for he had been carried away with other things. He bit his lower lip in embarrassment.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know you were married."
"It's okay.  You're not the only one who made that mistake."
"I thought as much. Where's your husband? Didn't he come with you?"
"No. He's quite busy. Besides, he wasn't invited."
"Two become one when they get married. Since you were invited, he is too." Dave countered and she laughed. Dave couldn't help but admire her laugh. It was so sexy.
"He's a journalist so he can't come."
"Touché! That's my word." Dave smiled and she nodded.
"I stole it from you."

Dave smiled as he stared at the fullness of her lips. How could such elegant lady be married?
"How long have you been working at the bank?"
"Not quite long. I graduated two years ago and was posted here for service. I was sad at first for it was too far from my house in Lagos. But I'm glad I came here. I wouldn't have met my husband if I didn't. You're lucky. No one bought me a car when I graduated." She replied and Dave laughed.
"Where are your kids?"
"Just got married two months ago Dave." She laughed as she stood up. "Bye Dave."  She walked away. Dave watched as she whispered something to Paul and she was gone.

That night, while Dave and his father cleaned the mess, Paul looked up at Dave and sighed.
"What's it now?"
"Huh?"
"What's going on between you and Stella?" He wiped away the dust from the table with a towel as he cleaned. There were cans and nylons of various sizes littered all over the house. Some people had stayed behind to help clean up but Paul asked them to leave when it got so dark. Dave also had received some commendable amount of gifts from the guests like it was his birthday.

"Nothing dad."
"Of course something son. What did you do?"
Dave looked up startled. Why was his father so sure that he was the one at fault? Was it a calling for him to make mistake?
"I didn't do anything."
"Yes, you did."
"Dad! Who is your child here and who are you supposed to support?"
"I'm not playing 'who is your child game' here Dave."
"It's nothing to worry about. We'll settle it ourselves. We're just experiencing some..."
"Technical issues?" Paul offered.
"Yes. Right! Technical issues."
"From your brain right?"
"Dad!" They both burst out laughing.

That night, Dave couldn't sleep. Was he really sure about what he said? Would he be able to settle it? Was Stella really gone?
"No! Positive thinking Dave. Be optimistic."

Dave made up his mind to go to Stella's apartment to visit her. She had gotten that apartment a year ago when she was to do her teaching practice. The door of her room was locked on getting there. Dave walked up to a neighbour to ask of Stella's whereabout.
"She packed her loads yesterday. I don't know where she went to but she has packed." The neighbor retorted.

Dave nearly collapsed on hearing that. He knew Stella had returned to her family and the heartbreaking thing was, he didn't know where the family house was located. He had been so carried away to ask or to pay a visit. What a fool he had been.

He tried calling her number and it rang but no picking. He called some more times and then, it was switched off. Why was Stella doing this? How long did she intend to keep this up? Had their sweet relationship finally come to an end? Was she really done with him? Wouldn't she give him a second chance to at least to mend his ways? Didn't every human deserve a second chance? He had acknowledged that he was wrong and now, he was ready to make amendments; to change. Didn't she want to see him change for the better?

Various thoughts and questions filled his mind as he drove back to the house. These thoughts consumed his thinking that he lost concentration on the road.

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