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Lost in a Shadow - Episode 22



Lost in a Shadow - Episode 22

Written by Chidiogor D-f Nwafor

The smile on Imafidon's face faded as she exchanged looks with Ruth.
"She doesn't work here." Imafidon snapped as she turned to leave. Ruth looked shocked but couldn't say a word for Imafidon wouldn't like her to.

Peace who decided to check on them, met a distraught young man standing confused while Imafidon and Ruth walked back into the boutique. They stared at her before walking past her. Peace quickly walked to the guy and asked him what he wanted.
"I'm looking for Stella Effiong. I was told she worked here."
"Of course she does. Do you want to come in?" Peace smiled at him.
"I'll wait outside." 

Stella walked outside perplexed. She wondered who it was that came to see her. Walking slowly, she got to where the guy stood. His back was turned to her and his hands were hidden in his pocket. Stella knew who it was at once.

Dave turned quickly to her and smiled. "Stella!"
"What are you doing here?"
"What does it look like I'm doing? I came to meet you."
"How did you find me?"
"I'll always find you wherever you go." 
"That doesn't answer my question." 
"Give some slacks Stella. Chill! A friend of mine told me."
"Doesn't he or she have a name?" She asked. Dave looked at her with crossed arms and she knew instantly that he wouldn't reveal that to her.
"Just go Dave."
"I'm not leaving Stella. I haven't said all I wanted to say."
"I don't want to hear them." She barked. That hurt! She knew! But she wanted to hurt him for reasons she couldn't understand.
"Stop being difficult." Dave gritted his teeth. "I'm sorry okay?"
"Fine! Can I go now?" She turned to leave but Dave stopped her.
"What?" She screamed that so loud that it surprised her. "Should I sing and dance for joy because Almighty Dave said he's sorry?" He was looking at her; his mouth slightly opened. Hurt and surprise registered on his face. 
"I was busy when you came so I need to go back and continue because it's so important." She turned to leave again, just then Dave spoke slowly in a clear, deep voice. 
"Ever since you left, my life had been a mess. I'm not strong enough to overcome this great challenge in my life because you're not with me. I just realized now that I can't live without you. If you leave me now, I wouldn't last long because I love you Stella. I do love you."

Those words were genuine. She knew it and could feel it. She wanted to go to him and embrace him but just to make his work a little bit harder. 
"You love me? Why don't you shout it for the world to hear." With that she veered.

"Alright. If that will make you happy." He walked up to her and right into her face, he screamed: I love you!

Embarrassed, she stared dumbly at him. He tried to repeat himself again but she slapped her hands to his mouth preventing him from screaming any further. 
"Are you okay, Dave?" She whispered amusingly. Onlookers were already staring at them. 
Smiling Dave repeated. "I love you Stella." He muttered. 

Tears slipped out of her face but Dave wiped it away immediately. "No more tears." He whispered as he drew her into his arms.
"I miss you. I miss you so so much I thought I would die." She whispered into his ear. She could feel him smile and she drew closer to him; hugging him tightly like he'd slip away from her grip. Just being close to him was the best feeling ever. They stayed that way for some minute before Dave pulled away. 
"Will you..." He hesitated and she smiled at him to encourage him to speak. "Will you spend the rest of your day with me?"
"I wish I could Dave but I work and.."
"You can go. I'll take care of things here." Peace, who had been watching them, called out.

Smiling, they both got into the car and drove out. Stella didn't know where they were heading to but she didn't mind; as far Dave was with her, she didn't care. She glanced around as she admired Dave's car. She knew he had gotten it during his welcome party. A friend of hers had told her. She had really wanted to attend the welcome party but she just couldn't.
"How have you been?" She asked for she really wanted to know what he had been through during her absence. Had he been in a relationship? Had he met someone new? Had he thought of her?
"I've been in a mess lately. Thousands of problems are on my mind. It just seems like my past had come to haunt me."
"What do you mean?" Stella asked. Confusion written all over her face. Dave looked at her and smiled sweetly.  Placing his hands on her cheek, he whispered: nothing much. Stella looked at him intently. She could tell something was wrong. He looked a bit pale and extremely tired like a person who was just recovering from a deadly illness. What was really happening to her Dave?

"I'm famished. Isn't there a place we can eat?" Dave broke her thoughts.
"There's one down the road but it's quite expensive."
"Mmm, let's check it out and if it's too expensive, we'd sneak out quietly." Dave joked and they laughed.
"But before that, tell me how you found me." She coaxed.
"Is that really important Stella? The most important thing is that I found you so don't worry about the means." Dave grinned. Each time he smiled at her, she felt herself melting. His smile just got to her, no matter the situation.

They arrived at a restaurant and Dave chose a seat behind the window. The restaurant was exquisite and a table had been ordered already. The restaurant was decorated with beautiful flowers and the waiters moved about smartly. Stella was enamoured for she never knew such expensive restaurant existed in her town. 
"Who booked this table?" She asked Dave.
"Who else? What would you like to eat?"
"I'm not hungry. I just ate."
"Impossible. At least take something." Dave probed.
"I'm filled up Dave. There's literally no space in my tummy." Stella smiled at him
"What about ice cream?"
"Alright Dave! Alright!"

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