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EPISODE 4
 
“What do you mean by ‘downslide in patronage’ woman” one of the shareholders, Mr. Dare, asked in annoyance. “Who are you by the way?”
 
Felicia did not flinch one bit; she just stared at him like he had just asked her the name of her favorite movie. “I am Felicia Adams, my business with Tel Communications is personal and I must say that I am well acquainted with your boss” she said with a sweet little smile on her face.
 
“So, how do you know about problems in our company when we don’t even know a thing about it?” Mr. Robert asked, looking to be more interested in the speaker’s body than her words.
 
“You don’t know? Well, the problem is not related to the company specifically but with the arrowhead.”
 
“Michael? What about Michael?”
 
Yes! Felicia had been expecting John Coker to talk ever since. He was the only known cousin to Michael and the late Mr. Coker had made sure that he was in the company. Apart from Michael, who had fifty percent share in Tel Communications, being the inherent owner of the company, John Coker had twenty six percent. John Coker had always seen Michael as his rival and always looked for a way to outshine him so Felicia was banking on convincing John using the power of words.
 
“I am guessing that everyone in this room hadn’t been on social media for a while.” Felicia stated with her eyes forging the look of extreme surprise. She had prepared for something like this. She signaled to Stella and she operated the laptop on the table. Everyone watched as Stella opened Michael’s Facebook profile and half-nude pictures popped up. Nearly everyone gasped as they stared unbelievably. The pictures were swarming with comments and some that were viewed were exceedingly awful. So many ladies were giving phone numbers out and stunningly, guys were dropping numbers as well. The shock they all got was so extreme when they saw Michael on a gay site.
 
“There you have it people; Michael Coker is gay” she dropped the bomb slowly. The room fell into stunned silence.
 
“You have all invested in the company, and I am sure you all want to expand financially instead of go bankrupt, so I thought of this: Tel Communications need to be led by someone different. Someone who has a good leading legacy and who is still a Coker. Someone who would not brandish nude photos on net or gay sites” she allowed that sink in. “Mr. John Coker” she stared pointedly at Michael’s cousin. “Wouldn’t it be of great benefit if you took over Tel Communications?”
 
John’s eyes widened fractionally and Felicia watched as his eyes went from surprise to thoughtful. “Michael has been there for so long” Felicia pressed. “I am sure everyone here wants to put their money into something more secure”
 
“Even at that, we can’t just take over, Michael has fifty percent shares, and we are just forty five percent here. Even if we get the last share holder to follow our plan, we still won’t have an edge over Michael” John Coker murmured thoughtfully, liking the idea of taking over the company.
 
“We could make him sell part of his shares, preferably to one of us here” Felicia offered.
 
Everyone seemed to assimilate that.
 
“But, what is your gain in all these?” Mr. Roberts asked suspiciously.
 
“Well, let’s just say ‘Payback’. Michael destroyed my life; he is just going to get what he bargained for” Even as Felicia said the words, her eyes clouded with dark recollection and anger.
 
“Even at that, what of the last shareholder? She might not agree”
 
“Who is she?” Felicia asked.
 
Only John knew. “Alexander Branson. She is definitely not going to accept this. She is Michael’s girlfriend.”
 
Felicia smiled widely and picked up her wine. “She would”
 
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“Oh sweetheart, why don’t you check on Alexander?” Richard said with a worried look. “She has been up in her room since she arrived yesterday and I just feel something is wrong with her, she ought to have breakfast with us”
 
Belina had noticed this too. She had been to Alexander’s room to see her this morning but she was still asleep then. Belina assumed that Alexa was extremely tired. She went to Alexa’s room with a thousand questions in her head, knocked and opened the door. “Alexa” Belina called. Alexa was not inside the room. A frown crept up Belina’s face as she checked the bathroom but found it empty also. “Alexander” Belina called louder then left the room, shouting Alexander as she went. Immediately she arrived the sitting room, Richard was on his feet. “I can’t find her.”
 
Richard’s face creased in worry as he looked round the wide sitting room. He did not want to believe that rapture had occurred and they had been left behind. “She might be outside” he said hopefully. Both of them knew distinctively that they hadn’t seen Alexander leave her room but they went to check nonetheless.
 
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Alexa alighted from the cab, extracted some money and paid the driver. She turned on her heels and walked like a soldier on mission into the massive building which stood. She was greeted by security guards with huge smiles but she was not her usual self so she had no money to spread around. Getting out of the house was as difficult as passing through the needle’s eye but she had managed. She could not face her parents after finding out that the man she loved was actually gay. Alexander had spent so many valuable minutes praying that this nightmare would go away. She had refreshed her web, feeling that the internet must be up to some of its tricks but after staring over and over again, the truth had slapped her with the force of a speeding plane. She wasn’t sure who she was angrier at; Michael or herself.
 
She entered the elevator which was going up with some people and heaved a huge sigh. As the elevator moved, it stopped continuously on each floor for people to get off. It became increasingly annoying because none of them seemed to be experiencing the tension and urgency she was feeling. Using the time, she quickly typed a message to her mum, informing her that she had to quickly see a friend of hers who would be out of the country this morning. She was not ready to reveal this ugly truth to her mum. Finally, the elevator chimed on the last floor and she stumbled out of it. She walked knowingly towards Michael’s office without even sparing the people around a glance. Soon enough, she got to Michael’s adjoining office and met with Michael’s secretary. She did not even pause.
 
“How may I help you ma’am?” the lady asked but Alexa was past caring. “You can’t just walk in” the lady stood up and rushed after her.
 
“Of course I can, and I will” Alexa responded steadily. She had been to Michael’s office countless number of times but Michael hadn’t made an exemption for her where protocol was concerned. She was treated like one of their customers by his staff instead of being treated like the boss’ woman. Alexa’s fast legs got to the door ahead of the secretary and she jerked it open without even a courteous knock.
 
On entering, Michael and Tunji jerked, turning their heads towards her. They looked extremely surprised to see her and Alexa wondered why.
 
“I tried to stop her, she would not listen to me” the secretary murmured frightfully.
 
Michael waved her away and stood up. He was not on his seat but was seated on the couch with Tunji, and Alexa found herself wandering what they must have been doing. She saw glasses of drinks beside the chair, on the small tabletops but she did not care about that.
 
“Alexa” Michael ground out. “What a surprise” he said standing up. “Is everything all right?” He actually looked worried as he stared at her. All her annoyance did not stop Alexa from noticing his pale blue shirt which was tucked into black pants. His equally black shoes shone and sparkled like someone had spent hours sinking polish into the glossy shoes. Michael’s shirt was not totally buttoned as usual, and his chest was slightly in view. He almost never used a tie so Alexander was not surprised.
 
“Lexy” Tunji called playfully. “You scared me, are we at war?” He asked jokingly.
 
Why did he look so innocent? “It depends” she said with her eyes fixed on Michael as she talked. “Are you both in it together? Since he would need a partner in crime, probably you are the available butt”
 
“What?” Tunji sounded so stunned at the insulting languages but still had no idea as to what was going on. Michael was equally looking at her with a look of thoughtful worry and surprise. Tunji stood up to leave and Alexa felt guilty because he most probably knew nothing about Michael’s activities but she was taking out her frustration on him.
 
“I might come back to finish what we were planning when you sort this out” he told Michael and left.
 
Alexander turned burning eyes at Michael and his silence was beginning to annoy her exceedingly. Must he always look calm in the face of a storm? “When were you going to tell me?”
 
Michael frowned. “Tell you what?”
 
“Don’t you dare me Michael. God!” she swallowed and moved away from Michael. “I am a fool; a stupid and foolish miserable little idiot. How could I not have read the writings on the wall?”
 
Michael now looked totally confused and Alexa was at least glad that Michael was not composed and relaxed in the face of her fury. “What is going on Alexander?”
 
“You know what is going on” she walked up to him and poked him in the chest. “Of course you do” Her voice was now very high and Michael was glad that his office was soundproofed. “You are just going to pretend right? That is what you have been doing all this while; pretend that I am special, pretend that you want me”
 
“Of course I do” Michael ground out. “Get to the point now” he growled.
 
“Shut up Michael, you don’t want me; maybe you want Tunji or Eric or one of those blasted friends of yours” she yelled.
 
Michael stilled and frowned deeply. “What does that mean?”
 
“You are gay” she cried. Silence reigned and for some seconds, Michael looked like a sculptured statue as he gazed at her like she had just declared that he had an invisible horn. Alexa laughed painfully. “Did you think I would never find out? Well you weren’t hiding it, at least not from the world. If you could make it public on social Medias, then you are definitely proud of your status.” Tears welled up in Alexander’s eyes as the pain slipped in like the edge of a sharp knife.
 
“What status are you talking about” Michael got back his power of speech and for the first time, Michael looked totally stunned. “I don’t understand the crap you are spilling from your mouth” Michael looked furious.
 
“Oh, I am spilling crap right?” Alexa took out her tab and swallowed heavily as she opened Michael’s Facebook profile which she hadn’t been able to stop revisiting since yesterday. She stopped her eyes from looking too long at the pictures as tears of anger and regret tried to push itself to the surface. She stretched the tab and Michael took it instantly but immediately he took it, he froze. Alexander had never seen Michael in so much shock. Michael was a perfect actor, she thought in annoyance. “That is the crap I am spilling. Damn it, you are even on gay.com.” she wailed. “Oh God” she sank into one of the chairs because her legs could not carry her anymore.
 
Michael could not even state which emotion was going through his veins. Shock was the first thing he felt, then shock again, then anger, then fury, then much more shock. “I’ll be damned if I know a thing about these blasted pictures here.” He said with so much anger as he glared at pictures of himself. “This is definitely not me, I mean, I have never taken a shirtless picture before, not to mention taking photos of myself in briefs. This is ridiculous, and I am definitely not gay. What the hell made you believe I was? We have been in bed together Alexa” He was pacing now and anger oozed out of his pores.
 
Alexa’s laughter sounded weird. “Yes, we have been in bed together once Michael; one miserable time. My life is a disaster” she declared and shook her head in agony. “Of all the things I thought would happen to me, I never thought I would lose my virginity to a gay lover. We are done Michael” she stood up and snatched her Tab from his hands.
 
“All of this is ridiculous Alexa, for God’s sake” he yelled in frustration.
 
Tears spilled out of her eyes. “You are right, it is. I hate you Michael” she turned and stormed out. Michael stared at the door as it slammed shut, he made no move to pursue Alexander though, he needed some time to process and assimilate what he had just heard.
 
Alexa tried not to look ridiculous as she went, trying desperately to put her emotions in check. She passed the wide-eyed secretary as she made her way out of Michael’s office but did not even spare her a glance. She wanted to cry and she eyed the elevator ahead, hoping she would not have any company when she entered it. Anita, Michael’s assistant bumped into her as she made her way to the elevator and she was forced to stop. Alexander had accused Anita severally of having an affair with Michael but now, she was forced to face the reality that she had been wrong. How much better would it have been if she had been right? She would have preferred a case of infidelity to the one she was faced with currently.
 
“Miss Branson” Anita gasped out. “Are you all right?”
 
The concerned tone almost made Alexa burst into tears instantly. Anita was still being nice to her even after numerous accusations. Anita looked troubled as she stared at Alexander. “Why don’t you have coffee with me at the cafeteria on the ground floor?” Anita offered again. Alexa just nodded and followed Anita; she really needed a listening ear now, especially one who worked for Michael.

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Felicia smiled thoughtfully as she came down from her car and walked to the door. “Second mission accomplished, third mission loading” she murmured.

**TRENDING MATTERS, EDITION 1 comes up tommorow at noon. DON’T miss it** Episode 5 continues on Friday as usual.

Inspy’s World

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