The Ultimate Priority

Phina’s library presents
Kate Campbell
David Kennedy
Jason Peters
Gabby Campbell
James Kennedy
Bill White


Gabby entered Jason’s office. Jason was smoking as usual. Gabby sat down. Jason swirled in his seat.
“So what’s up, buddy?” Jason asked Gabby.
“My younger sister will be graduating this weekend man, I want to find her some work to do immediately she comes home,” Gabby said.
“And why’s that?” Jason asked.
“Kate’s very inquisitive and I really don’t want her to know about this bloody business I’m engaged in.”
“And why do you worry that much?”
“Cause she’s the only family I have and if she happens to find out and decides to disown me, I’m good as dead. Besides, she’s the only trustworthy person I can rely on when things start to go wrong,” Gabby explained.
“Well then, we’ll think of something, all right? I myself can’t afford a little girl bringing all my toils to an abrupt end,” Jason said.
“Thanks man,” Gabby said gratefully.

“This is a live coverage of our Excellency, President James Kennedy’s 50th birthday. The most interesting part of this ceremony is His Excellency’s most cherished valuable jewel: his sapphire ring. This ring looks so priceless that the highest bidder of any auctioning in our time cannot afford this ring…” a TV presenter was saying.
“Whoa! This sounds interesting,” Jason said.
“Mr. President must feel very proud to own such a valuable jewel,” Gabby said.
“Gabby, I’ve an idea of where your sister can work.”
“Really, where?” Gabby asked curiously.
“At the White House,” Jason said. Gabby got stunned.
It took about four seconds for Gabby to take in what Jason had just said.
“Exactly as you heard, Gabby,” he said as he took his glass of vodka and started pacing around the room.
“Kate to work at the White House? But how…”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ve got all the necessary connections to have it all sorted out” Jason said confidently and sipped his vodka.
“And…may I know why?” Gabby asked.
“Cause I want that,” Jason said, pointing to the TV. Gabby’s gaze followed his finger.
“What?” Gabby asked, just wanting to be sure of what he meant. Jason sipped his drink.
“You know what I’m talking about, Gabby.”
“Nah, I don’t think I do.”
“Of course you do, Gabby. I want that damn ring,” Jason said. Gabby got up slowly.
“Meaning you want Kate to steal the President’s ring?” Gabby asked, stunned.
“And you think Kate will agree to this? Man, I don’t think you know the girl in question very well.”
“She doesn’t have a choice. Remember you messed up one of our big time operations last month and the cops are still investigating. If she loves her dear brother that much, she must do everything she can to prevent her only brother from being put in jail,” Jason said and puffed out the smoke from the cigarette.
“No Jason, I don’t want Kate involved in this. I told you I don’t want her to know about this.”
“She won’t know. Don’t worry; I know how to handle this, ok? Maybe you don’t know, but I have enough evidence to put you behind bars but because of our good old days, I’ll keep them secret,” Jason said.
“Is this some sort of blackmail?” Gabby asked.
‘I’m not really fond of that word. I’d like to call it insurance but if you choose to take it that way, that’s fine.” There was a pause.
“Are you taking this seriously? Come on Gabby, I’m just joking! Remember, if you go down, I’ll definitely go down too.”
“I’m glad you know that Jason, and by the way, your joke wasn’t funny at all,” Gabby said and walked out of the room. Jason smiled and sipped his drink.
“I must have that ring. No matter what,” he said to himself.

That weekend, Kate came to live with her brother. They loved each other so much since they were the only family to each other.
“I can’t believe school is finally over, Gabby,” Kate said with relief. She had her head on Gabby’s laps. They were watching a movie together.
“Uh huh. So, do you have any plans in mind?”
“Concerning what?”
“Your life right now. Do you plan on working right now?”
“Yeah, but the problem is where?”
“Then you have no problem. I’ve an offer for you and I hope you like it,” Gabby said.
“Tell me, what is it?” Kate asked eagerly, sitting up.
“That will be a surprise. First, I would like you to meet a friend of mine.”
“Is he the one going to give the job?”
“Yes, he has got lots of connections. It is through his connections that I was able to establish my business, build this beautiful house and earn enough for both of us,” Gabby said.
“How I wish mum and dad were here to see this day; to see us being successful,” Kate said.
“Uh huh, dad always saw me as a good for nothing boy but look at me now.” Kate chuckled.
“You were never a good for nothing boy, Gabby. You know, whenever dad got drunk, it was like he was in another world. Now the only ones we have is each other so we must stick together to the very end,” Kate said.
“Yeah. I love you, Kate,” Gabby said affectionately.
“I love you too, Gabby.”

“Kate, this is Jason Peters and Jason, this is Kate Campbell, my sister. Kate, this is the guy I was telling you about” Gabby said.
“Hi Jason,” Kate said, shaking hands with him.
“Hi Kate, pleased to meet you.”
“Me too.”
“Have a seat, please.” They all sat.
“Can I offer you anything?”
“No, thanks. We’re okay,” Gabby replied.
“All right then. Um…Miss Campbell, do you mind if I call you Kate?” Jason asked.
“Of course not, Jason.”
“Okay, Gabby and I have been friends for quite some time now. He’s done a lot for me and I’d like to return that favor by offering you a job.”
“You can’t imagine how elated I feel right now.”
“Good. This is going to be a big time opportunity to make it in life. Well, I’ve made some arrangements for you to work…” he glanced at Gabby, “… the White House,” Jason declared. There was a pause. Kate glanced at Gabby, blinking hard.
“Wait; is this some kind of joke or something?”
“No, we’re serious, dead serious.”
“But…But…why? I don’t see myself working there.”
“Cause you never imagined it. For starters, you would be at the President’s beck and call to serve him and his guests tea, coffee, champagne and stuff like that.”
“But why the White House? Is there something in there that interests you?” Kate asked. Jason and Gabby glanced at each other.
“No, no, no. Your brother just wants you to make it big in life. I’m offering to help. So, do you accept or not?”
“Any stings attached?” Kate asked.
“No, not at the moment. Maybe you would have to return a favor or two. So, what’s your decision?”
“This sounds so good to be true and well it’s said that such things are not good at all,” Kate commented, glancing at her brother. He rubbed her back with his palm
“Trust me, sis; this is good for you.”
“Fine, I accept.”

Mr. President took the phone and said, “A cup of coffee please.” A few moments later, Kate entered with a tray.
“Here you are, Mr. President,” Kate humbly said as she served him.
“You’re new, right?”
“Yes please.”
“I hope you know what happened to your predecessor. She tried to steal some files from this office. I honestly hope you’re not kind of person,” Mr. President said.
“Yes sir, I’m a very modest person. Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. President?”
“No, if I need you, I’ll call you.”
“Yes Mr. President; excuse me,” Kate said and left.

Gabby burst into Jason’s office.
“Hey, is this the kind of work you signed up Kate to do, huh? To serve tea and coffee and that’s it? Come on, Jason, my sister deserves more than that and you know it. She’s a graduate of one of the biggest universities in the States for crying out loud!” Gabby grumbled.
“Calm down, Gabby. Be patient. Of course, that’s not my plan for her. You know I can’t just take her to a key position just like that. It doesn’t work that way,” Jason explained. Gabby sipped his drink.
“I know what the problem is. You miss her, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“She’ll be fine. I want to allow the President some time to trust Kate so that when my master plan is proposed to him, he’ll have no doubt in accepting it,” Jason said.
“And what’s this master plan?”
“Making Kate his PA.”
“Wow. That’s cool!”
“Now that will make it easier for her to get the ring.” Gabby’s smile faded as quickly as it came.
“I told you I’ll take care of this, don’t worry.”
“And how do you intend to persuade her?”
“I’ll tell her I’ll take you to jail and blabla. It will look like some sort of blackmail. She’ll certainly do it for you. Now Gabby, we’re shipping some stuff to Africa and I want you to supervise that.”
“Sure, I’ll be on my way now,” Gabby said and left.

The strongest political opponent, Mr. Bill White was having a drink with his right hand man, Pete.
“Time is running out, Pete. Next year by this time, it’ll be elections and I want to be the next President,” Bill said.
“So, what do you have in mind?”
“I want to bring James down. Do anything to tarnish his image using his sapphire ring.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Let’s just say, we need to frame James up concerning his sapphire ring.”
“By making the public believe that he stole the ring from the National Treasury Museum.”
“And how do you intend to do that?”
“By buying the officials there off and ordering them to say a similar sapphire piece got missing the very year he was sworn into office” Bill said.
“This is very serious, Bill. If anything goes wrong, that will be the end of us!”
“Yeah, I know that and that’s why nothing will go wrong. We’re going to plan everything before we carry it out. And we must be fast.”
“And cautious too,” Pete added.
“Let’s drink to my master plan. Cheers.”
“Cheers!” They drank.

The door opened. ‘Hi, dad.’
“Son, come on in,” Mr. President said. David entered.
“How are you doing, dad?” David asked as he sat down.
“Obviously fine. Want anything?”
“Fruit juice. It’s been quite sometime since I drank some.’ He took the phone.
“Two glasses of fruit juice, please.”
“You’ve got a replacement so soon?” David asked.
‘Uh huh, have you forgotten I’m the President of the United States?” David smiled.
“And she’s very humble and polite.” Kate entered with a tray of two glasses and a fruit juice pack. She placed them on the table, poured the juice into the glasses and served them.
“Um…David, this is Kate and Kate, this is David, my son.”
“Pleased to meet you, sir.”
“Me too.”
“You may excuse us now,” Mr. President said. She left.
“She seems like a nice person to me” David commented.
“She is a nice person, Dave.”
“Does she live here?”
“Here? No, she lives in an apartment, I suppose. Do you like her?”
“What? Come on, dad. You know me too well for that.”
“Well, people change. Your younger brother called today. He said he’s doing well at the university.”
“That’s relieving to hear cause Chris isn’t known for taking care of himself well,” David said.
“He’s growing up.”
“Where’s mum?”
“She’s around, I suppose. Do you mind if you stay and have dinner with us?”
‘Of course not. It’s been quite a long time since I dined with you guys.”
“Okay then.”

When dinner was ready, Kate served them at the table. As she was serving, David took that opportunity to look at her well. She looked simple, diligent and very beautiful. He felt attracted to her.
“Thanks, Kate,” the First lady said.
“My pleasure, ma’am,” Kate humbly replied and excused herself.
“This meal is extremely delicious,” David said.
“Kate has been taking great care of us. Can’t you see we’ve both gained weight?” the First lady asked.
“Yeah, I can see that. Kate’s obviously doing a great job.”

When they finished, Kate cleared the table and she went to wash up the dishes while they chatted.
“So how’s the President doing?” David asked.
“Fine, dealing with some issues here and there but I’m good.”
“Glad to hear that.” Kate entered with her hand bag.
“I’m leaving now, Mr. President.”
“Okay, Kate. Thanks for everything. My son actually loved your meal.”
“I’m glad. Then, I’ll take my leave now. Goodnight and take care of yourselves,” she said and left.
“Isn’t she sweet?” the First lady said admiringly.
“Sure, she is,” Mr. President admitted. David looked at his watch.
“Um…I’ve got to be on my way now. It’s kind of getting late,” David said.
“Sure. Thanks for staying to have dinner with us.”
“That’s nothing, dad. I really enjoyed it. Bye, mum,” David said and pecked his mother. He shook hands with his dad.
“Take care of yourself, will you?” the First lady said.
“I will and goodnight.”

David was driving home when he saw Kate walking home. He stopped by her.
“Hi Kate. It’s late; please let me give you a ride,” David offered.
“Oh no. Thanks anyway. I’m almost there. Besides, I really want to walk home tonight,” Kate replied.
“No, Kate. I really enjoyed your meal tonight and I think I owe you for that, don’t you think?”
“That’s my job,” Kate insisted.
“But I insist. I won’t have a clear conscience if I leave here without you.” Kate exhaled deeply.
“All right, if you insist.”
“Thank God. Come on inside.” Kate sat in the car and he drove away.

Two days later, David came back to the White House.
“Hi Sir” Kate greeted humbly.
“Call me David.”
“Hi Kate. How are you doing?”
“I’m good. Your dad is having a meeting…”
“I didn’t come to see my dad. I came to see you, Kate,” David said.
Kate being startled went back a step.
“Yes, you. Can we talk?”
“What, no. I’m on duty, Sir.”
“Duty? When will you be off duty?”
“I’m never off duty.’
‘You mean you work here twenty four-seven?”
“Yes, except on Sundays but if something comes up, I ask for permission.”
“Really? Okay, I’ll wait for dad to finish his meeting so that I can see him,” David said and sat.
“Fine then. What can I offer you?”
“What can you offer me? I want you.”
“Excuse me?”
“Never mind. Get me wine, any brand at all.”
“All right, Sir,” Kate said, turning to go.
“What did you call me?”
“Um…David, right?”
“Right, now get me my wine.”
“Sure.” She went and came back and served him.
I think I like her, David thought.

The old man at the National Treasury Museum stood as Bill and Pete entered his office.
“Hello and why do you honor me with your visit, Sir?” the old man asked politely.
“Cause I’ve got a proposal to make. Can we sit?”
“Sure, of course. Please sit.” They sat.
“Can I offer you anything?”
“No, we’re all right.” The old man sat.
“So, how can I help you, Sir?”
“Let’s introduce ourselves. First, I know you know me, I’m Bill White and this is my good friend, Pete.”
“Pleased to meet you. I’m popularly called Uncle Tom,” the old man said.
“Right. We’re here to make a deal with you, okay and it’s quite simple. You’ve been working here for quite some time, right?” Bill asked.
“Yes, for twenty years actually,” he replied proudly.
“Good. We just want you to say that this museum used to have a sapphire piece here which got mysteriously missing and looks very similar to the President’s.”
“What?” the old man shrieked, hitting the table with his palms and getting up.
“Hey, calm down, old man. There’s no need to overreact. Look, we’re ready to pay an amount of one million dollars if…,” Pete said.
“I don’t want your stinking money. I am a man of integrity and dignity. God forbid that I do such an evil thing!” Uncle Tom bellowed.
“Think about it, Tom. It’s a good amount of money.”
“It’s not about the money. It’s about my conscience. I’ll never know peace if I knew I caused the downfall of such a great man like James Kennedy.”
“Of course it’s about the money, old Tom. I know your son has a brain tumor which you have to deal with immediately.”
“But…,” he tried to interrupt.
“And you have many health issues as well and you’re refusing a million bucks?” Pete asked.
“Two, actually,” Bill corrected. Uncle Tom sat.
“You don’t understand. This is wrong!”
“The world today isn’t about doing what’s right or wrong, Tom, it’s about survival,” Pete said.
“No, I can’t do it.”
‘Three million.”
“Four million.”
“Okay, five million dollars,” Bill concluded. Uncle Tom looked up at him.
“Are we settled?”
“What if I get into trouble and I’m sued for defamation?”
“Don’t worry, we’ll handle that. We’ve got a perfect backup plan for that. No one can touch you; you have my word.”
“So how do I do this?”
“See one of the newspaper tabloids around and tell him what I said.”
“And I get the money?”
“Not until it’s all over the media and I get satisfied. But I’ll give half a million cheque right now,” Bill said and signed a cheque. He gave it to him.
“Fine. It’s a deal.”
“Thanks, Uncle Tom. We really appreciate it,” Pete said.

“Hi dad. Still busy?” David asked as he entered his office.
“No, son. Have a seat. Got any problem?”
“No, just came over,” he said and sat.
“Hmmm… I smell something fishy here.”
“Come on dad. Can’t I visit my own parents as and when I want to?” David asked.
“Of course you can. Just joking. Want anything?”
“No, Kate served me. Dad, how come Kate doesn’t get some time off?’ David asked. Mr. President looked up at him.
“Did she tell you that?” he asked.
“Yes, I…”
“I’m having the notion that you’re taking a keen liking to her. Am I right?”
“Well…yeah, I think I like her.’
“And you want to take her out, I suppose.”
“Okay, she can have Saturday off.”
“Really, thanks, dad,” David said happily.
“It’s all right. But be careful, son. These girls of today are very cunning. Claire taught me a lesson.”
“Okay, dad. Thanks, dad.”
“Take care, son.”

On Saturday, David and Kate were taking a stroll together eating ice-cream.
“So, tell me about yourself’, David said.
“Um…I’m Kate and I’ve an elder brother called Gabby. We’re orphans.’
“Sorry about that. Where’s your brother?”
“He’s in Chicago. He’s a busy guy now.”
“Let’s sit down here, shall we?” Kate suggested. They sat.
“Um…Kate, I want to ask you a personal question.”
“Go ahead.”
“Do you go out.”
“Go out? Of course I go out. I hang out a lot.”
“I mean with a guy?”
“Oh, not at the moment. But I was, back at the university.”
“Where’s he now?’
“Somewhere around; we had a slight misunderstanding and we broke up. And you?”
“No. I used to have numerous girlfriends, you know for obvious reasons but I’m fed up with that. I don’t need a girlfriend, I need a life partner,” David said. Kate looked at him. David was about to touch her chin when she got up and said, “Um…I think we should leave now. I’ve got some personal cleaning to do.”
“Sure, let’s go.”

When David pulled over in front of her apartment, Kate said, “Thanks for everything, David. I really had a good time.”
“My pleasure.”
“See you later,” she said, about to open the door.
“Can I have your number?” David asked her.
“You give me your number.” He told her.
“Right, I’ll call you.”
“Check and see if it’s correct.” She did. David’s phone rang. He chuckled.
“Right, now I’ve your number.”
“Oh,” Kate said, feeling tricked. Goodbye, then,” She said and got out of the car.
“Take care of yourself, Kate.”
“You too. Drive carefully.”
“I will bye!” he said and drove away.

Kate’s phone rang. She took it.
“Kate, it’s me, Gabby. I’m in D.C.”
“You are? Where exactly?” she asked. He told her.
“All right. I’m coming to pick you up, okay? See you.”

Later in Kate’s apartment…
“So, how’s life here?” Gabby asked.
“Fine, it’s just that I miss you very much,” she said as she put her head on his chest.
“Me too,” he said as he kissed her hair.
“What are you doing here in D.C?”
“Um…attending to business issues, obviously.”
“What busi…”
“Kate please, let’s not go there. Not in the mood to argue. I came for us to talk together and not against each other,” Gabby said firmly.
“All right, all right, I’m sorry dear brother. I forgot to call you and tell you that David Kennedy and I are friends now,” Kate said.
“That name rings a bell. Who’s he?”
“For goodness’ sake, you should know, Gabby. David’s the President’s son.”
“You’re going out with him?”
“We’re just friends, Gabby!”
“Really? Way to go, girl! That’s a good catch!”
“Please don’t get your hopes too high, Gabby.”
“Let’s drink to that. Cheers!”

“Please Sir, there’s a man from the National Treasury Museum who wants to see you.”
“Okay, let him in.”
Uncle Tom entered. The man stood up.
“Hello, I’m Uncle Tom from the National Treasury Museum,” he said, shaking hands with him.
“I’m Rick. Pleased to meet you.” They both sat.
“How can I help you, Sir?”
“I’ve worked at N.T.M. for twenty years so I know everything about it. Three years ago, a precious sapphire piece got missing at the National Treasury Museum and I thought it had disappeared for life but the President’s sapphire ring display caught my attention. To be precise, that sapphire piece disappeared the very year James Kennedy was sworn into office.”
“What are you insinuating?”
“The very thing you’re thinking right now; that the President might have stolen that sapphire piece,” he blurted out.

“Do you realize what you’re saying? You’re accusing no one but the President of the United States of America of theft!” Rick cried out.
“Uh huh, I’m fully aware of that. Here’s the file I have on that sapphire piece,” Uncle Tom said, putting the folder in front of him.
“How come we never heard of it? Was it publicized?” Rick asked.
“Um…no. For security reasons.”
“Security reasons? Why’s that?” he asked suspiciously.
“We didn’t want the public to criticize us for the irresponsibility, you know.”
“So why now?”
“You see…”
“The National Treasury Museum belongs to the whole of USA and if anything happens to state property, we the citizens have the right to know. You know that, right?”
Uncle Tom began to feel nervous. Rick opened the file.
“You said it was stolen three years ago?”
“And this sapphire piece of yours has been in the N.T.M. since 1980?”
“Looking at this sheet and file quality, I clearly remember that, this wasn’t in existence at that time, old man,” Rick said seriously.
“What are you trying to say, young man?”
“That I’m not a kid, Uncle Tom. Now tell me, who’s behind this, huh? Who paid you to frame the President up?” Rick asked.
“Listen to me, young man, if you’re not ready to publish what I’ve told you, then I must be on my way to someone else who will be interested,” Uncle Tom said, getting up and about to take the file.
“No, you can’t have it back.”
“And why not?” Uncle Tom asked, getting irritated.
“Cause the media has the right to any information. I’ll investigate into it before considering whether to publish it or not,” Rick said with his hand firmly on the folder.
“Besides, it concerns every citizen, right? They need to know the truth.”
“All…all right. I’ll take my leave now.” When he opened the door, Rick said, ‘”An old man like you shouldn’t betray his own country. I expected you to be wiser than this. You know you could get into serious trouble if all this turns out to be false.”
Uncle Tom glared at him and left.

“So how’s your sister doing?” Jason asked.
“Fine. She’s doing well, I observed,” Gabby answered.
“There’s good news, Jason. The President’s son, David, is now Kate’s friend.”
“Are you serious? Whoa, I think I slept on the right side of my bed last night. It has brought me such good luck. That will make it easier for us to get the ring and faster.”
“And what if she’s not able to get it, huh?”
“Let me start with the positive side. If she gets it for me, you’ll earn a million bucks.”
“You must be kidding me!”
“Not on a fine sunny Tuesday like this,” Jason replied.
“That’s cool and if she doesn’t?”
“Make her believe I’ll kill you and I’ll make you hide for a while so that she’ll believe it.”
“That’s stupid, Jason. She’ll tell the cops everything.”
“To her own detriment, Gabby. I hope it doesn’t go that far.”
“Why do you want that ring so badly?”
“First of all, it will serve as a memorable achievement of my existence. Secondly, because I love precious stones, I’ll die for them. Thirdly and most important of all, it will cause instability in the country and we can carry out our businesses without much worries,” Jason said, smoking his cigarette.
“You think so? That will rather intensify the operations of the quarantine officers. They would think the thief would want to smuggle it out of the country.”
“No, Gabby. Everybody’s attention would be on the President, sympathizing with him. So prepare a ticket and flight arrangement for us to go to Washington D.C. next week,” Jason said.
“What on earth for?”
“To tell Kate her mission on being sent there.”
“And you want me to be there? No please, I don’t think I can sit there and look into my sister’s eyes with all that deceit. I’ll mess up everything,” Gabby said.
“All right, I understand. You get me the flight ticket.”
“I will.”

The doorbell rang. Kate went to open it.
“Hello Sir.”
“Hello. I’m Rick Manners, the chief editor of the Daily Journal. I’d like to meet the President.”
“Please come in.” He entered.
“Please have a seat. Can I offer you anything?”
“No, I’m fine. Thanks a lot.”
“All right, I’ll inform the President right away.”
“Please do. It’s urgent.”
“Please excuse me.”

“Please come in.” Kate entered.
“Please His Excellency; the chief editor of the Daily Journal wants to see you. He says it’s urgent.”
“Really? Let him in.”

“Please go in, Sir.”
“Thanks Miss.”
“Hi Rick,” Mr. President said happily as he stood and shook hands with Rick.
“Hello, Mr. President. Good to see you again.”
“Me too. Have a seat, please.” They both sat.
“Want anything?”
“No, I’m fine. Mr. President, there’s a very serious problem at hand,” Rick said.
“What is it?”
“And old man who works at the National Treasury Museum came to me claiming that your sapphire ring is similar to a missing one that happened to be in the treasury museum three years ago,” Rick said.
“What? Is he accusing me of theft?”
“Exactly, your Excellency. Here’s the file he brought,” he said, handing it to him. He opened it.
“This is ridiculous. That ring has been my family’s inheritance for generations for heaven’s sake. How could he think of a thing like this?’
“Might be the work of someone who wants to tarnish your image. The funny thing is that, he claims the sapphire piece has been in the museum since 1980 but looking at the papers, they look recent. They feel fresh!”
“Who could be behind this?” Mr. President asked himself.
“I’m afraid he would tell the story to other media houses who’ll readily broadcast it,” Rick said.
“I must contact the Attorney General immediately to look into this issue. I want you to research and get me a profile on every jewel that was and is in that National Treasury Museum, okay? That will serve as evidence. I know this isn’t your work but please, do it as a personal good friend and I’ll pay you handsomely for that.”
“My pleasure will be when you’re vindicated, Mr. President. I’ll take my leave now. Can I take the file?” Rick asked.
“Sure, but please make a copy of that for my Attorney General, okay?” he said, giving the file back to him.
“I will. Nice day and take care of yourself.”

The next day, Mr. President and his wife were having a hearty chat when David burst into the house with a newspaper.
“What’s the meaning of this, dad? Read what they have published about you,” David said, giving the paper to his dad.
“What, they dare accuse me of theft?” David sat.
“Explain this to me, honey,” the First lady asked anxiously.
“Rick came here yesterday telling me that an old man from NTM claims my sapphire ring is very similar to that of one stolen from the museum three years ago.”
“What? But this sapphire ring has been in the family for ages, dad,” David said.
“That I think he doesn’t know. I’m going to call my lawyer to sue him immediately.”
“Yes dad before it develops into a scandal!”

“This is beautiful, isn’t it?” Bill asked, reading the headlines of a newspaper.
“It is; very catchy. I don’t think the President will take this lightly at all,” Pete said.
“Obviously he won’t. The old man has done an incredible job.”
“Have you paid him off yet?’
“No, but I’ll do so as soon as possible.” His phone rang.
“Sir, it’s me, Uncle Tom. The President is suing me for false accusation. The FBI has called me for questioning.”
“He is? Don’t worry about it, I’ll find you a competent lawyer to help you win this case. Anyway, I’ll send you the cash tomorrow, okay?”
“No, I prefer a cheque, a crossed one.”
“That would implicate you, Uncle Tom. They would know I paid you to make that statement, don’t you think? I believe cash is the best option.”
“All right, if you say so.”
“Good. See you tomorrow and don’t worry, okay? Bye,” Bill said and hung up.
“Mr. President is suing him for false accusation?”
“Uh huh.’
“And will you help him?”
“Yes, find him a lawyer but if it’s getting too far, I’ll leave him to his fate. I’m sure he can handle it with five million bucks.”
“If you do that, he can turn you in, you know that?”
“Where’s the evidence? No papers signed, no conversations or financial transactions recorded. He’ll be on his own,” Bill said and puffed out the smoke from his cigarette.
“I think that’s too harsh for such an old man, Bill.”
“A greedy old man, Pete. What on earth would an old man like him who’s halfway in his grave do with five million bucks, anyway? That’s what happens when you get too greedy.”
“Be careful, Bill. I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Not actually but I know for sure that the ball is in my court now and I decide when and where to throw it,” Bill said confidently and puffed out the smoke.

“Whoa, look at this, Jason,” Gabby said, giving him the newspaper. Jason read it.
“What, that the sapphire ring might be a stolen one? That’s impossible,” Jason said.
“The old man must have a mental problem to make a dangerous statement like this,” Gabby said.
“Well, this doesn’t change my plan in any way. Whether it’s for the President or for the state, I’m going to get it and that’s for real,” Jason said.

David and Kate were walking along the shore of the sea, holding hands.
“What are you thinking about, David?” Kate asked.
“About my dad. The whole accusation thing is really breaking my dad down. It’s really affecting him.”
“Yeah, it’s rather unfortunate as we’re in the election year. He’ll be fine, David. I know your dad is a strong man. He can endure it, I’m sure of it,” Kate comforted. They stopped and David held her other hand.
“I’m scared this would kill my dad cause he’s got a heart condition, Kate. The thought that something might happen to him is tearing my heart apart,” David said, tears flowing onto his cheeks.
“Shhh…don’t cry, David. Your dad will be fine. You need to feel strong for him. If he sees you like this, how do you expect him to feel?” Kate said softly as she touched his cheek. He held her hand that she had put on his cheek.
“I need a friend to talk to, to confide in, and to comfort me during these tough times. Will you do this for me?”
“Of course, David. I’ll always be there for you. Always.” They hugged each other.

Kate was watching a movie when her phone rang.
“Is this Kate?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“It’s Jason, Gabby’s friend.”
“Jason! Good to hear from you. How are you doing?”
“I’m good; so is Gabby. Um…Kate, I’m in D.C. and I’d like to see you. There’s something very important we need to discuss,” Jason said.
“Oh really? All right then, where can we meet?” Jason told her.
“Okay, I’ll meet you there. Bye.” She hung up.

Kate went to meet Jason already there, drinking wine.
“Hi Jason,” she greeted amiably as she sat.
“Hi Kate, you look beautiful.”
“Thanks. You look good too.”
“Can I get you something to drink?’
“Yes, wine. Non-alcoholic.”
“Sure. Waiter, please come.” He came over.
“Please serve this lady with non-alcoholic wine.”
“Apple flavored, please.”
“Sure.” He left.
“Gabby couldn’t come with me cause he’s attending to some business issues at the moment. He sends his regards anyway. He said he’ll come and see you later.”
“That’s fine.” The waiter returned and served her.
“Thanks.” He left them.
“Um…to the reason why I came here, you see Kate, I got you hired at the White House for a particular reason. I think I did you a great favor by taking you there and I think it’s about time you paid me back,” Jason said. Kate sipped her wine.
“I’m sure you watched the President’s 50th birthday ceremony on TV.”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Good. What was the most interesting thing that was shown?”
“I’ve no idea of what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do, Kate. Okay, let me rephrase it. Which of the President’s possessions has turned out to be the point of controversy in the States right now?”
“His sapphire ring?”
“Exactly. I want you to get it for me,” Jason said in a whisper. Kate’s facial expression changed.
“What? Are you out of your mind?”
“Nope, I’m perfectly normal.”
“No, no, no. I don’t think so. I suggest you get your head examined,” Kate snapped, about to get up.
“Hey, hey, hey, not so fast, girl. You remember I told you you’d have to return a favor or two?”
“And this is it?” Kate asked, still shocked. Jason nodded and sipped his drink.
“I also remember you said there were no strings attached. Why didn’t you tell me right from the start?”
“And would you have agreed if I did?”
“Hell no.”
“My point exactly; that’s why I’m doing it right now. I’m smart, right?” he asked, a silly grin on his face.
“And you think I’d grant your request? Then you must have graduated with a first class degree in the school of madness,” Kate said as she got up.
“If you won’t do this for me, at least do it for your brother,” Jason said. Kate’s heart jumped.
“Gabby? What has Gabby got to do with all this?”
“Sit down first.” Kate did and sipped her wine nervously.
“You see, your brother works for me and he owes me his liberty and his life.”
“I…I don’t understand.” Her voice was shaking.
“Do you remember the big fuss the cops made of the discovery of hundreds of packages stuffed with cocaine?” Kate’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped with shock.
“You remember, don’t you? It was due to your brother’s carelessness and irresponsibility that led to that mess. Fortunately, I covered up for him but I can still turn him in whenever I want cause I’ve got all the evidence to prove that. I don’t think you dream of your only brother being locked up in prison for twenty years, huh?”
Tears began to form in Kate’s eyes. She blinked hard and the tears began to flow.
“I’m sorry for this little revelation but it’s the truth. It’s either you get me the ring or Gabby rots in jail,” Jason threatened, his tone getting serious.
“Does Gabby know about know about all this?”
“About the ring, you mean?” Jason asked back.
“About this bloody blackmail, dummy!” she shouted angrily.
“Come on Kate, that was too harsh. And please lower your voice, will you? Of course, he does and he’s praying that you’d understand and do as I say to save his poor ass.”
“This can’t be happening to me, no,” Kate said to herself, shaking her head and forcing back the tears. Jason relaxed in his chair and drank his wine.
“What if I resign huh, what if I leave the White House?”
“Same as refusal to do the job and thus attracts the same penalty: Gabby goes to prison.”
“You’re a slimy filthy bastard,” Kate said through her teeth. She was boiling with anger.
“Thank you for the compliment or better still I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Besides, I don’t think you’d like to see my ugly side, do you?” Jason asked.
“Your ugly side? Don’t tell me this is your pretty side cause it disgusts me!”
“Stoop shouting, ok? I don’t want people to hear us.”
“I want everybody to know what a scumbag you are!”
“Oh really? And who loses, you. Gabby goes to jail.”
Kate got up to leave.
“Gabby’s the only family you’ve in this world. You wouldn’t want to lose him and be left alone in this evil world. Think about it,” Jason advised. Kate cast him a black look and walked away. Jason chuckled to himself as he sat back in his chair and sipped his drink.
“Let’s see how it goes.”

Kate was sitting on her bed crying when her phone rang. It had been ringing for sometime. She picked it up.
“Honey, please let me explain, okay?”
“Explain what, Gabby? That you’re a drug pusher, huh? That I’ve been blackmailed to steal the President’s ringed, huh? Which one do you want to explain?”
“Kate please, it’s quite complicated, all right? I really wished you were not involved in all this.”
“And I thought you were the best brother in the world, but no, I was so stupid, so stupid not to realize what a freak you are!”
“Please Kate, don’t get mad at me. If you get the ring for Jason, I promise to take us to somewhere far and safe for us to start a new life. I promise!” Gabby said.
“You expect me to really steal that ring? You’re impossible, Gabby. You disgust me, Gabby,” Kate said and hung up.

“But why did you tell her truth, Jason?”
“That was the only way to make her feel the seriousness of the situation. And I think it worked,” Jason said.
“What if she tells the cops, huh?”
“And risk losing you to the prison walls? Nah, I don’t think so. But if she does, she’ll be the one to lose. No one can imagine what I can do to anyone who tries to cross my path and worse to anyone who attempts to double cross me,” Jason said, fixing his eyes on Gabby.
“Don’t try anything funny to outwit me and get Kate out of this deal, Gabby.”
“It never crossed my mind but now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll consider it. But let me warn you, Jason, whatever happens, don’t dare lay a finger on my sister. Deal with me instead,” Gabby said and walked out of the room.

“So, why did you want to talk to me so urgently, old Tom?” Bill asked.
“How do you mean, why? The case is gradually turning against me, sir. I need your help,” Uncle Tom said desperately.
“How? I provided a good lawyer for you, made the initial payment for you and have sustained you up to this day. What else?”
‘Evidence, proof, facts. Sir, I’ve run out of these things.’
“Better find them before you run out of luck, old Tom. Cause our deal is over. You did my job, I paid you what was due to you,” Bill said plainly.
“What, you’re going to ditch me in the mud now?”
“How about that?”
“I’ll turn you in then.”
“And don’t dare to threaten me, old man. I don’t think you’d like me to turn against you and start treating you like an enemy, right? If you plan on reporting me to the cops, prepare to be electrocuted for accusing the President of theft.”
“I think I get the picture now’, old Tom said and left.
“I must admit it was an interesting reality show to watch,” Pete said.
“Let me ask you Pete; what do you do to the can after taking in the drink?” Bill asked.
“Squeeze the can and drop it in the bin.”
“Exactly what I’ve done with dear Uncle Tom.” He laughed.

Gabby went to see his sister in Washington D.C.
“Please Kate; do this for me, all right? By the way, I’m planning a way of outwitting Jason so that we can go very far from here to Seattle or somewhere’, Gabby said.
“That could be dangerous. He can harm you.”
“I know. But I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, Kate. You’re the only person I have in this world. I don’t want to lose you, honey,” Gabby said affectionately as he held her hands.
“You know I love you, Kate.”
“I love you too, Gabby,” she said with tears in her eyes. He kissed her hair and they hugged each other tightly.
“You’re all I have in this world,” Kate murmured.
“I too, baby.”
“If dad hadn’t lost his job, all this wouldn’t be happening,” Kate said in despair.
“It’s okay, honey. God knows best,” Gabby comforted.

David took Kate to a park one night. They were both looking at the sky in silence for sometime.
“You know I always come here to clear my mind when I’m troubled or when I just want to be alone. Just look at the stars,” David said.
“And does it help?” Kate asked.
“Uh huh, the breeze, the serenity of this refreshes my mind. After I’ve cried my heart out, I feel better. And I always leave this place with anew feeling of hope that all will be well as far as the stars continue to twinkle in the sky at night,” David said, looking at the stars. Kate recalled Jason’s words, ‘Gabby’s the only family you have in this world. You wouldn’t want to lose him and be alone in this evil world. Think about it.’ Tears started flowing from her eyes.
“And why did you bring me here?”
“So that whenever you feel sad, you could come here by yourself. You can talk to yourself, shout if you want to, cry if you feel like it or just be quiet and let the cool breeze calm you down and dry away your tears.”
‘You’re all I have in this world,’ she recalled.
“You’re the sweetest and the most wonderful person I’ve ever met,” Kate said sincerely. David smiled and touched her cheek.
“I also want you to know that, if you’re looking for me and can’t find me, then I must be here. I’ve never met any girl like you. Can I trust you?”
“Sure, you can, David. Always.” They hugged each other.

One morning, as Kate took her handbag to go to work, the telephone rang. She took it.
“Hi beautiful. Hope you slept well last night.”
“Who’s this?”
“Let’s just say your business partner. You’re on your way to work, right?”
“Who the hell are you?” Kate asked, her heart beating faster.
“Just wanted to remind you of your mission there. Get me the ring…”
“Jason, stop threatening me, okay? You can go to hell but you know what, Gabby won’t join you. Have a horrible day, Jason,” Kate said and hung up. She sighed deeply.
“Jason has succeeded in spoiling my morning. Imbecile,” Kate said left for work.

David and Kate were sitting on the lawn in the White House.
“You now, the case is going on well in my dad’s favor. That old man is nothing but a confused unlucky liar. At times he says against himself unconsciously. I have a feeling there’s someone out there who paid him to do this dirty job. Can you believe that when we researched, there hadn’t been any sapphire piece in that National Treasury Museum since the beginning of time?” David narrated. He paused and realized that Kate was absentminded.
“Kate…Kate?” David called as he touched her shoulder. She got startled and came back to herself.
“Hi…I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” Kate apologized. David held her chin and looked into her eyes.
“What’s wrong, baby?” David asked sweetly.
“It’s nothing, David,” Kate said, wiping the tears from her face with her hand.
“You don’t expect me to believe that, do you? Come on, tell me, Kate; I might be of help.”
“No, David. I’m fine. I was just having flashbacks on my family when I was young. Before my parents died, I mean.”
“Listen to me, honey, that’s past and gone. It’s behind you now. Just do your best now to earn a bright future. You deserve to be happy, Kate. You’re wonderful.” Kate smiled. If I take this ring, the one I’d hurt most would be David cause he trusts me and I love him. I can’t betray his trust and break his heart, Kate thought.
“Let’s have a walk around the house, shall we?” Kate suggested.

Later, Kate called Gabby.
“Gabby, Jason called. He has started pressurizing me. What do I do, Gabby?” Kate asked desperately.
“I don’t know, Kate. I’m confused myself!”
“The President as well as his son trusts me. I can’t afford to disappoint them.”
“Do you know where the ring is?”
“No, I mean not yet.”
“Fine. Listen Kate, if David happens to show you the ring, ask him to make a fake one and fabricate any story to make him accept it, okay? Then, you take that one and give it to Jason. Then we’ll run away before Jason finds out. You could tell the truth to David later,” Gabby suggested.
“That’s a fantastic idea, Gabby. You’re a genius!”
“I’ll do anything for you, baby.”

One night, as Kate was done serving Mr. President and his family dinner, Mr. President said, “Kate, I’ve good news for you. First, I want you to dine with us tonight.” Kate was stunned.
“Uh huh, besides David.”
“No buts, please join us.”
“Thanks, Mr. President.” She sat.
“Feel comfortable and serve yourself,” Mr. President said. She did. When she turned to look at David, he gave her an encouraging smile. She began to feel at ease.
“So tell us, where’s your family living?” the First Lady asked.
“Um…my parents are late, ma’am and my brother lives in Chicago,” Kate replied.
“Sorry about your parents. Is your brother working?”
“Yes, he works with some shipping company,” she added quickly.
“All right, then. Let me announce the good news. Henceforth, Kate, you’ll be my personal assistant.”
“What?” Kate asked in amazement.
“Yes, Kate. We’ve noticed that you’re very diligent in your work. You’ll be given some tip bits on how you should do your work,” the First Lady said, smiling.
“I…can’t believe this. I’m…absolutely lost for words. Thank you very much,” Kate said with tears of joy in her eyes. David held her hand tightly.
“You deserve it, Kate,” David said.
“Let’s drink to Kate’s promotion. Cheers,” Mr. President said.

That night, Kate called Gabby.
“Gabby, you won’t believe it! The President invited me to dinner with his family and it was so wonderful and you know what, he has made me his PA!” Kate said with joy.
“What? You’re now the President’s PA?”
“Yes. I’m so happy, Gabby!”
“You deserve it, Kate. Just do your best and keep out of trouble, all right?”
“All right, brother. I really wish mum and dad were alive to see us doing so well,” Kate said.
“I also wish for the same thing. But, you know that’s impossible. I love you, Kate.”
“Love you too, Gabby. Be good, all right?”
“I will. Goodnight!”
“Goodnight and sweet dreams. Dream about me.”
“I will, bye,” Gabby said and hung up.
This is the beginning of a new, wonderful life, Kate thought. Little did she know it was the beginning of…

‘Top Story: The man who accused His Excellency, President James Kennedy of theft concerning his sapphire ring has been sentenced to ten years in prison. The daring culprit called Thomas Miller popularly known as Uncle Tom was guilty of false accusation for lack of evidence, witness or facts. Stay with us, we’ll be right back from this break.’
Bill White burst into laughter.
“Poor Uncle Tom! He must be cursing me right now,” Bill said.
“Are you happy?” Pete asked.
“With what?”
“With Tom being thrown into prison?”
“Oh no. I’m not happy about that. At least, I’m happy that the scandal created the effect I expected.”
“And this man?”
“You know this saying that: He’ll be betrayed but woe to him by whom He’s betrayed. I think that’s what happening here,” Bill said.
“So you’re not going to do anything to help this old man? For heaven’s sake, he has a son with brain tumor. Don’t you have any conscience at all?”
“What do you want me to do, Pete? Aid him to break out of prison or what?”
“You know how you can help, Bill.”
“Well, I don’t know. The verdict has already been given.”
“Have you ever heard of the word, appeal? It is spelt A-P-P-E-A-L, appeal. Do you know what it means?”
“I should find a lawyer to appeal for him? Come on, Pete, I paid him five million bucks for crying out loud!” Bill said.
“But the damage you’ve caused him is nothing compared to five million bucks, Bill. And remember you put him there. He would be working peacefully in his office if you didn’t come along and tempt him with five million dollars. You also gave him your word that you’ll help him out if things went wrong.”
“Well, I did my part, didn’t I? I helped with the case. What has come over you, Pete? I never knew you to be such a concerned saint,” Bill said.
“I’m just concerned about the future, Bill. I think you’ve lost your foresight. If you let that old man stay in prison and anything comes up, he’ll jump up and say everything and ruin all your plans when you least expect it. Have you thought of that?” Pete said.
“What can a helpless old man like him do?”
“What a professional killer can’t. Don’t underestimate what the anger and revenge of a poor man can do. It can be bloody,” Pete warned.
“You seem to be talking from experience, Pete.”
“Whatever. Think about it, Bill if you really dream of becoming the next President of the United States,” Pete said and left the room.

“What a poor old man! What could have driven him to do such a crazy thing?” Jason commented after listening to the news.
“Just because of a bloody sapphire ring,” Gabby said with disgust.
“Yeah. Hey, has your sister been given the PA position yet?”
“You knew about that?”
“Knew? Come on, Gabby. You know, I’m in control of things here. I masterminded it, Gabby. All because of a bloody sapphire ring’, Jason said proudly, looking at his wine glass.
“This task seems impossible, Jason. I wouldn’t be this worried if a professional thief was doing this job. A naïve girl like Kate is likely to mess up. What’s if the ring is somewhere safe at some bank somewhere?”
“Oh no. that ring is right there in the White House. I’m certainly sure of it. And don’t worry about your sister, we both know she’s a smart lady.”
“Then why don’t you do it yourself?”
“Cause I’d get into trouble if I do. I’ve a criminal record. I’m a fugitive,” Jason admitted.
“But how come the cops haven’t caught up with you yet?”
“Cause I’m smarter, Gabby. I changed my identity. Why, aren’t you interested in your one million dollars anymore?”
“Not at the risk of my only sister going to prison and doing time.”
“None of that will happen if she’s smart enough not to leave any traces behind.”
“She’s not skilled and experienced in crime as you are, Jason. Aside that, the White House is too big a place to search for such a small thing. Besides, she being Mr. President’s PA doesn’t heighten her chances of finding out where that damn ring is,” Gabby said.
“Maybe, but her relationship with the President’s son surely can,” Jason chipped in. David cast him a sharp look. Jason got up slowly and said, “That’s the more reason why you should help her find it cause your head is on stake here. You know why, because I’m serious about carrying out my threat. I’ll turn you in and I assure you, the chance of an elephant going through the eye of a needle is greater than you escaping a prison sentence.”
Gabby also got up and leaned toward the table so that their faces almost touched.
“How dare you threaten me, Jason?”
“And if your sister tries anything funny, you’ll witness how she’ll be disgraced to the whole country. That will be a sweet piece of cake as she’s the President’s PA and is also dating his son, don’t you think?” Jason said and laughed wickedly.
“You know about that too?”
“Know? I get to know whoever goes in and out of the White House. Can you imagine the scandal I can cause for Kate involving Mr. President and his son?”

“At last, the case has ended and of course, there was justice,” David said to Kate.
“Come to think of it, that man is too old to do time, don’t you think?”
“Well, that’s the price he has to pay for trying to create chaos on the country.”
“I don’t think you should stop here, David, cause I think there’s someone behind all this. It’s obvious that old man was paid to do what he did. No old man like him will do anything to hasten his journey to his grave. Perhaps he was given a huge sum of money for that. The mastermind might come up with another drastic plan soon,” Kate warned.
“So what do you suggest I do?”
“Go to that man and compel him to tell you the whole truth. The old man was forced to compromise, maybe.”
“I’ve heard you. Come, I want to show you something,” David said as he held Kate’s hand. He took her to a room.
“Where’s this place, Dave?”
“This is the where we keep the sapphire ring,” David said, showing her the glass container where the precious ring lay. Kate recalled Jason’s words: It’s either you get me the ring or Gabby rots in jail. Kate began to feel nervous.
“But…why did you bring me here? Why did you decide to show me…this place?”
“Cause I think you should know. We’re best friends now and best friends do not keep secrets from each other.”
“I don’t think this is right, David. Your parents might not feel comfortable with me knowing about this place. This is a very precious ring.”
“I know. But you’re more precious to me than this ring. I always wanted this sapphire ring as my inheritance but ever since I met you, I’ve realized that love is much more precious than precious stones,” David said passionately as he held her chin.
“What are you saying, Dave?”
“That I’m in love with you, Kate. Your simplicity has shown me that, one can enjoy life without riches and political titles and I admire you for that.”
“David, you…you can’t be serious. You don’t know what you’re saying,” Kate said, with tears in her eyes.
“I do or…maybe I don’t. All that matters is that I love you.”
“Love is not enough, David. It…it can’t be, David. Let’s just be friends.”
“Kate, no…” Kate rushed out of the room.
“Kate, Kate,” David called, following her.

Kate was sitting on her bed, thinking. I can’t afford to raise David’s hopes when I’m about to do something hurtful. I have to sacrifice my love and happiness for Gabby’s sake, she thought. Her phone rang. She took it.
“Hello, sister.”
“Hi, Gabby. What’s up?”
“Fine and you?”
“Not really.”
“What happened?”
“I had to make a big sacrifice for you today, Gabby.”
“How do you mean?”
“David proposed to me today.”
“Although I love him very much, I had to reject it because of that damn ring I’ve to steal,” Kate said. There was a pause.
“I understand,” Gabby said weakly.
“I don’t want to hurt him more than I already will when he finds out I stole the ring. Today, he showed me where the ring is.”
“You don’t actually have to steal that ring, Kate. Tell him to make a duplicate and give that one to Jason.”
“He’ll still find out. I’m going to do this for you, Gabby, cause I love you, brother. Very much,” Kate said and hung up.
“Kate…hello, hello,” the line went dead.
“Damn you, Jason,” Gabby said under his breath.

Gabby was watching TV when the doorbell rang.
“I’m coming.” He went to open the door. It was Jason.
“What are you doing here, Jason?”
“We need to talk Gabby, as friends for old times’ sake, please.”
Gabby glared at him.
“Can I come in…please?”
It took Gabby about four seconds to give Jason way into the house.
“Thank you,” he said as he entered. Gabby closed the door.
“Whatever you have to say, say it quickly and get the hell out of the house,” Gabby said harshly.
“Come on, man, are you going to treat me like an enemy just because we had an argument?”
“You threatened me, Jason and I don’t tolerate that.”
“I just wanted you to feel how desperate I am to have that ring. Anyway, won’t you serve me any drink?” Jason asked.
“I don’t think I’m in the mood for that,” Gabby said and sat down.
“All right then, I’ll serve myself,” Jason said and helped himself to some beer.
After gulping down a mouthful, he sat down.
“I don’t know why you’re seeing me as a very wicked, ambitious guy who wants to gain his interest at the expense of others,” Jason started.
“That’s exactly what you are, Jason. And besides, this isn’t the first time,” Gabby chipped in, his eyes still fixed on the TV screen.
“I just see this as a favor, Gabby. When the cops were on your tail, remember I went all out to protect you. Thanks to me, you can walk on the streets of America without having to look over your shoulder to see who’s watching you. I risked all I had, all that was at stake just to keep you safe, Gabby. And if I’m asking for such a small favor in return, you’re looking at me as you never knew me?”
“This is different, Jason. We’re talking of the White House, where security is super tight, where no guard trusts the other and you expect a young, naïve girl like Kate to succeed in stealing the President’s most valued item?” Gabby blew back.
“The whole United States was after you, Gabby and I was able to cover up for you. Why can’t do you the same for me?”
“It’s not about me, Jason and you know that. It’s Kate I’m worried about. She’s not that smart when it comes to such things. If I were the one to do it, I wouldn’t have any problem with it. Besides, why do you want the ring at all? There will be no way for you to sell that damn ring cause the whole world would hear about it in ten minutes after it has been stolen. And if Kate is caught, she’ll be jailed for life. And she’ll definitely not go alone. She’ll confess everything and we’ll be in deeper trouble if our dirty deals come up. Have you thought of that?” Gabby said.
“Yeah the aftermath…um, I haven’t really thought of that but I promise you, I’ll start working on it, okay? I know you care about your sister, so do I. that’s why I’m doing everything possible to make sure she comes out of it unscratched. Please, Gabby, do it for your friend,” Jason pleaded.
“Your pleas won’t change anything cause Kate will do it for you,” Gabby said, unfeelingly.
“So we’re still friends, right? Business partners.” There was a pause.
“Sure, why not?”
“That’s my man,” Jason said happily as he went to Gabby and shook hands with him and sat by him.
“I hope you’ll keep your word to keep Kate safe.”
“Of course. If I don’t, they’ll find me and that will be hell for me cause they’ll know who I really am and I might be executed.”
“That won’t happen, Jason.”
“If only you help me. Gabby, I’ve been thinking, about that old man that was jailed for the ring, I’m really sure there’s someone behind it and I want to find out.”
“And why’s that?”
“So that, if something is to go wrong, we’ll blame him for it.”
“If what is to go wrong?”
“If Kate’s assignment leaves some suspicions behind.”
“Oh I see, you want to cover up for yourself and leave Kate in the mud when things go wrong?”
“No, no, no. Not for myself only, but for Kate as well.”
“Well, I don’t see where Kate’s interest comes in here. What do you take me for, Jason, an insane fool?” Gabby asked, irritated.
“Come on, Gabby, you’re not thinking straight.”
“I’m not drunk, Jason!”
“I promise to work on Kate’s issue the very moment I get home.”
“Then hurry up home so that you can start as early as possible.”
“Not until you help me with this.” Gabby cast him a sharp look.
“Uh huh. All I need is a file of information about whoever he is. That’s all; just a file of info. I know you can do it. All right then, I can see I’ve overstayed my welcome.”
Jason got up.
“I’m glad you’ve realized that.”
“I’ll be on my way to work on Kate. Nice day.”
“You can choose to have one.”
“I will,” Jason said and left.
“Blackmailing bastard,” Gabby muttered.

Bill White went to see Uncle Tom in prison.
“Got any good news for me?” Uncle Tom asked.
“Unfortunately not, Tom. I filed in for an appeal but unfortunately, it was turned down,” Bill said.
“You mean there’s no way I can get out of here?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“That’s an expensive joke, Sir. I’m giving you two weeks to get me out of here or else…” Uncle Tom threatened.
“Are you threatening me?”
“Two weeks, Sir or else you’ll experience the unimaginable,” he warned as h he was led back into his cell.

During the weekend, David took Kate out for lunch.
“My dad is planning on opening up the White House for public display, with tight security of course. The family sapphire ring will also be on display,” David said.
“What? He’ll be displaying the sapphire ring?”
“Yes, the history of the family and the ring and blabla…”
“But why take such a risk?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Come on, David, you and I know how precious this ring is and his display on TV the other time. Many unscrupulous people would like to become second owners of this ring. Don’t give them the chance, Dave,” Kate said.
“What can I do? Mum and dad agreed on this and let me assure you, when they both agree on one thing, it’s almost impossible to make them change their mind.”
“Fine, when is this public display coming on?”
“Next week or next two weeks…well, I know it’s coming on before the end of this month,” David said.
“What about making a duplicate?” Kate suggested.
“Yes, make a duplicate of the genuine ring and offer the duplicate for the display. If anyone finds it wise to steal it, fine, he loses.”
“That’s a good idea, though. I’ll suggest it to dad.”
“Please do. I don’t think the people coming for the display know much about precious stones. They will never know.”
“Yes. Thanks for your suggestion. You’ve shown that you really care for me and my family. I really appreciate that.”
“What are friends for?”
“You’re more than a friend to me.” Kate smiled. David held her hand.
“Please give a chance, Kate I promise to make you happy. I’ll do my best not to hurt you. Please…” Kate withdrew her hand.
“Please David, don’t let’s talk about this. At least, not now,” Kate said.
“When then?”
“At the right time.”
“When is that?”
“You’ll know when that time comes. Very soon.”
“I’ll wait for you, my angel.” Kate smiled.
Would he say the same thing when he realizes that I stole their family’s most cherished inheritance? I doubt it, Kate thought.

Kate was working when her phone rang. She took it.
“Mr. President’s secretary speaking.”
“Hi Kate, as the President’s new PA with his public display coming on soon, I believe you know where the ring is. You’re running out of time, lady. I don’t want to pressurize you by giving you a deadline but I need it really soon; soon after the public display.”
“Jason, stoop calling me, okay? Your calls tend to freak me out!”
“Sorry about that abut I’m getting less patient each passing day. Sorry to bother you at work. Nice day,” Jason said and hung up.
“Jason, hello, hello…” The line went dead. Kate put the receiver down.
“He’s nothing but an irritating vagabond!”

“Jason threatened me again, Gabby. This time he really sounded impatient and dead serious,” Kate complained.
“He doesn’t expect me to steal it before the public display, does he?”
“I certainly do not know what he’s thinking but what about the duplicate?” Gabby asked.
“David’s still working on it. I’m sure it’ll be ready before the public display.”
“Good. I’ll talk to Jason, okay? I’m sorry for getting you involved in this,” Gabby apologized.
“It’s all right. You’re my brother, that’s what matters. I love you Gabby.”
“I love you too, Kate. Take care.” He hung up.

Jason was standing by the window, drinking when Gabby entered. Jason turned.
“Hi Gabby, I can see you’ve got something for me,” Jason said, noticing the folder Gabby had in his hand.
“Yes, I have,” Gabby said, putting the folder on the table. As Jason was about to take it, Gabby put his hand on it firmly.
“We need to talk first.”
“Why the straight face, Gabby?” Jason asked and sipped his drink.
“Stop threatening my sister! Stop frightening the hell out of her!”
“So she told you. I can see you two communicate really well; but that wasn’t my intention, believe me. I just put on a tone of urgency.”
“Are you planning on selling it to someone?”
“No, it will be mine.”
“So why the rush? No matter how long it takes, it will still be brought to you.”
“I thought Kate wasn’t taking this deal seriously so I wanted to place emphasis on that.”
“You made that clear to her that you’d put me in prison if she doesn’t get it for you so there’s no need to overemphasize that. If you keep calling her, she’s likely to freak out and do something stupid much to your disadvantage and more importantly, to her life. I don’t want to lose my sister.”
“Then she must do as she’s told. All right, I promise I won’t call her again. Satisfied?” Jason asked.
“No letters, notes, no means of contact.”
“I give my word.”
“Makes me feel better,” Gabby admitted. Jason took the file and opened it.
“Him?” Jason asked in shock.
“Uh huh, I can see he’s bent on getting the presidency seat, no matter what it takes,” Gabby commented.
“Things will never cease to amaze me. Imagining how I respected this man,” Jason said.
“So did I.” There was a pause. Jason began looking through the pages.
“What do you want with this man, if I may ask?” Gabby asked him. Jason looked up at him.
“I’m planning how to linking him to the theft of the ring,” he answered and when he noticed Gabby was about to speak, added quickly, “and I’ve had Kate’s safety worked out if that’s what you were about to ask me.”

“There’s this nosy gentleman in that White House who crossed my path when I was dealing with Kate’s predecessor.”
“You mean you masterminded her dismissal?”
“More or less and I intend to blame him for the theft. That’s a good way of advising him to keep his nose where it belongs, right?” Jason said with a smile.
“Oh,” Gabby said with a sigh of relief.
“You see, I’ve got everything sorted. It’s up to Kate to do her part of the bargain or you know what’s at stake.”
“My head, I get it. Thanks for reminding me. Nice day, Jason.”
“Come on, Gabby. I don’t like this distance stretching between us. We used to be very good friends and…”
“You said it yourself, used to be. Besides, which good friend trades his colleague for a jewel? Think about it,” Gabby said and left Jason’s office.

“This is beautiful. It looks just like the real one. Tell me, what’s the difference?”
“It’s a plain glass stone with a shiny blue pearl in it which shines through making it all blue.”
“That was smart,” Kate remarked and put it in his hand.
“Let’s go and put it there.” They entered the room. David opened the glass case, took the sapphire ring out and put the duplicate in it. He covered it.
“Such a perfect substitute. Can you tell the difference if they were both placed in front of you?” Kate asked.
“Maybe not but an expert can. So, I’ll take this to dad’s bank now for safe keeping.”
“That’s right.”
“Thanks for everything, Kate. You’re indeed God-sent.” Kate smiled.
“Let’s get going before anyone notices that we’re here.”

The public display was a great success. People from all walks of life came to see the portraits of the former Presidents and have a look at the marvelous ring. Fortunately, no one knew how to distinguish between a real precious ring and manufactured one. As soon as the ceremony was over, Kate began to feel feverish. If she didn’t take action, Jason might do something silly. There were no more excuses for delays. It was either she did it or Gabby went to jail.
She would be sacrificing her love, conscience and future life she would enjoy with David for Gabby. Was it worth it? Was her brother’s life more important than her happiness, her conscience and her life? What would be her ultimate priority?

“Mum, dad, I want you to counsel me on something. You know, I’m not getting any younger and I need to settle down and I’ve been with Kate for quite sometime. Although it has been quite short, I was wondering if you’d think it right if I propose to her to be my wife,” David said. Mr. President and his wife exchanged a few glances.
“I personally am fond of Kate and I sometimes wished she were my daughter and I’d be happy to have her as a daughter-in-law,” he said.
“If you think she’s the one for you, why not?” the First lady added.
“Really, thanks dad; thanks mum! You guys have made my day.”

The following day, Kate stealthily entered the private room where the duplicate ring lay. She carefully opened the glass case and took it. She closed it quietly and left the room. She put the ring in a box into her bag. She went to Mr. President’s office.
“Um…Sir, I wanted to ask for permission to travel to Chicago to see my brother tomorrow.”
“I hope there’s no problem.”
“He has suddenly fallen ill and he called for me to come and see him. I intend to come back day after tomorrow,” Kate said.
“Just one day to see your brother?”
“I know how to handle him, Sir. I don’t really think it’s that serious. He might just be missing me.” Mr. President chuckled.
“I understand. All right then, you may go but come back in one piece, okay?” he said with a fatherly smile.
“Yes Sir. Take care of yourself and don’t work yourself up too much, Mr. President.”
“Okay; safe journey, Kate.”

That night, David called Kate.
“How are you doing?” David asked.
“Fine and you?”
“I’m good. Are you free tomorrow? I want to take you out.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, David. Not tomorrow. I’ll be traveling to Chicago tomorrow.”
“My brother needs me; don’t worry, I’ll be back day after tomorrow.”
“I can take you to the airport,” David offered.
“No, thanks. I’ll be fine. Just take care of your daddy. He’s been too busy these days for my liking.”
“I will. Take care of yourself, baby.”
“I will, you too. Don’t miss me too much.”
“I’ll try. Goodnight love.”
“Goodnight love.” Kate hung up.

Gabby was eating his brunch when Kate entered the house.
“Kate! What wind blew you here?” Gabby asked, surprised as he got up to meet her.
“Welcome, sweetheart,” Gabby said and they hugged.
“Thanks, Gabby.” Kate sat.
“You look quite tired. Care to join me?”
“What are you eating?”
“Are you coming or not?” Gabby asked and pulled her arm. She got up. Gabby led her to the dining table. They both sat. Kate took a piece of chicken and took a bite.
“Why didn’t you call me to come and pick you up?”
“I didn’t want to bother you. I know you wake up late and I didn’t want to deprive you of your sleep.”
“Come on, Kate. I’ll do anything for you. You’re all I have,” Gabby said.
“I brought the ring.” Gabby paused as he was about to sip his fruit juice.
“Uh huh, that’s why I’m here.”
“Which one?”
“The duplicate, of course. Are you occupied right now?”
“I want you to go with me to Jason’s place.”
“Of course.”
“And I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”
“Yes, Gabby. I know it’s been quite a long time since we spent time together but I need to go back. If David finds out the duplicate is missing and I’m not around, he’ll suspect me. I must take his mind off it immediately.”
“That’s not necessary. Just tell him the truth.”
“What truth?”
“Everything about Jason, Kate.”
“Are you losing your mind? You’ll also end up in prison if I do!”
“Yeah, I kind of forgot that,” Gabby said and sipped his juice.
“I’ll go and take and shower and we’ll go, okay?”
“All right.” Kate got up.
“I love you, Gabby,” she said and pecked her brother.
“Because of my stupidity, I’ve landed my sweet sister into this mess but I’ll do all I can to keep her out of trouble,” Gabby thought.

When Kate and Gabby arrived at Jason’s office, Jason stood up in surprise.
“Kate, what a surprise! If you came all the way from Washington D.C., then you must have come with some good news,” Jason said.
Both Kate and Gabby kept a straight face.
“Come on, a deal has been carried out. That calls for celebration. Let me tell my secretary to bring us some champagne.”
“This is no celebration to merit the drinking of champagne,” Kate said.
“All right. Do you have it?”
“Of course,” Kate said and opened the box. She showed it to him. Jason’s eyes glowed with awe. He was about to take it but Kate closed it.
“Not so fast, Jason. Not until you’ve given Gabby’s criminal file back to him,” Kate ordered.
“You heard me, Jason. That will settle the score to prevent any future blackmail. Can we have it?”
“Sure.” Jason found the file and gave it to Kate who gave it to Gabby. Gabby flipped through. Gabby looked at Jason with surprise.
“So you’d have really sent me to prison.”
“It was a deal.”
“I think you should be more careful with your choice of friends, Gabby. Now, you can have your damn ring,” Kate said as she gave him the box. He opened it.
“Wow, this is beautiful. Thanks, Kate.”
“Not needed. So, we’re done, right?” Kate asked.
“Not yet, Kate. My one million bucks, Jason.”
“You guys are very smart,” Jason said as he took his cheque book and wrote it. He gave the cheque to Gabby.
“Deal’s done,” Gabby said.
“So, if we happen to meet anywhere at anytime, we’re total strangers, okay?” Kate said.
“What, come on, Gabby and I are close buddies, business partners,” Jason said.
“Not anymore, Jason. I’ll open up my own business with this money,” Gabby said.
“What, our friendship is over because of this ring?”

“Our friendship ended when you decided to trade me for this damn ring. Hope you don’t lose anymore because of it,” Gabby said.
“I’ll never forget you, Mr. Jason. Have a nice day,” Kate said, offering her hand. Jason took it and shook it.
“I must say it was nice doing business with you, Kate.”
“It’s goodbye forever, Jason,” Gabby said as he put his arm around Kate’s shoulder.
“Come on guys, we can’t end like this. We do business together, Gabby,” Jason said.
“Not anymore, Jason. Drug pushing belongs to my awful past. I intend to start all over and I advise you do the same. Let’s get out of here, Kate,” Gabby said and they left.
“Well, some friends are not meant to be kept anyway. He always gave me problems because of his stupid carelessness. Thank God he’s out of my life now,” Jason said. He opened the box and admired the ring.
“This is so beautiful. I’m fulfilled now,” he said to himself and called his secretary.
“Get me red wine.”
“I need to celebrate this. Welcome to my world, precious ring.”

“We’re finally free from his grip,” Kate said with relief.
“Yes, are you going to leave the White House?”
“What, hell no. not now. I need to save a lot.”
“I’ve enough for both of us.”
“I know, but let’s wait for some time.”

“This place is lovely,” Kate said, looking around.
“A lovely place befits a lovely lady like you,” David said. They both smiled. As they were eating, Kate noticed David staring at her.
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
“Is there anything wrong with that?”
“You’re making me feel uncomfortable, like I’m a glutton or something. What is it?”
“You’re beautiful.”
“I won’t be moved by your flattering, young man.”
“I wasn’t flattering you, princess. I’m dead serious.”
“All right, I’ll go straight to the point.” David took Kate’s hand and kissed it.
“Kate, I’m in love with you and I know you too are in love with me. We have the right to be happy together, have our own family and die together. Will you marry me?” David proposed, as he opened a box, revealing a shiny ring. Kate gasped.
“Dave, of this is one of your…”
“No, Kate; I’m dead serious. I’ve never been this serious in my life. I want you in my life, please…”
“I…I need to think about it.”
“Is there another man?” David asked.
“No, no, no, that’s not it.”
“So what is it?”
“We’re worlds apart, Dave. We…”
“Come on, Kate, you’re my world. Whenever we’re together, no one exists to me except you. I love you Kate; don’t you believe me?” David asked.
“Of course I believe you, David but marriage isn’t as easy as choosing which dress to buy in a shop. Please give me some time,” Kate pleaded.
“All right, then.” David closed the box. There was silence for sometime.
“I want to go home,” David said quietly.
“Sure of course. Let’s go.”

As they drove, a tensed silence stretched between them. When he pulled over in front of Kate’s apartment, Kate said, “Thanks for everything, Dave.” He nodded. Kate touched his hand.
“Please don’t get hurt, David. I just need time.” When he said nothing, Kate turned his face to meet hers.
“I love you too, David,” Kate confessed.
“So what’s keeping you…?”
“Shhh…,” Kate said and kissed him.
“All in good time, Dave,” Kate said and got out of the car. David licked his lips.
“Goodnight, Dave.”
“Goodnight, Kate,” he said and drove off. Kate exhaled deeply as she watched him drive away and went into her apartment.

Later, President James Kennedy gathered his family for a meeting.
“We’re gathered here today for something very important. I’m here to hand to the oldest son, the sapphire ring as the tradition demands and as for you, Chris, those personal shares I have in that shipping company belongs to you now.”
“For me?”
“Yes, you’ll be given more as you grow up and become more responsible. As for you, David, we’ll talk later.”
“Thanks, dad.”
“Let’s drink to that, cheers!”
David kept the sapphire ring in a room with the thought of coming for it later which he forgot.

One peaceful day, Kate was enjoying her meal when her phone rang. She took it.
“Kate, what the hell do you take me for?” Kate got startled.
“What kind of a fool do you take do you take me for, Kate?”
“And how many kinds of fools exist in this world? Who the hell do you do you think you are to call me and shout at me, huh?” Kate blew back.
“You thought you could fool me?” It struck Kate.
“Jason, is that you?”
“Of course it’s me. Why did you bring me a fake ring, huh? You thought I wouldn’t notice?” Kate’s heart jumped.
“I…I…don’t know what you’re talking about, Jason.”
“Cut that crap. You’re a university graduate and I don’t expect you to put on this stupid attitude. Where’s the bloody sapphire ring?” Jason asked angrily.
“The only ring in the White House is what I stole for you. We’re over, Jason,” Kate said and was about to hang up when Jason said, “That’s where you’re wrong, Kate; we’ve just begun. You think you can take me for a ride and bring me a fake ring?”
“Listen, I know nothing of what you’re saying, all right? Our encounter sometime ago was a nightmare I don’t want to relive,” Kate said, her heart pounding.
“Good, so the best thing to do is to quietly bring me the real sapphire ring.”
“This must be a joke. You have no idea of what I went through to get that ring and you call to tell me such nonsense?”
“Please don’t play dumb with me. I don’t enjoy such games,” Jason said impatiently.
“How did you know it was fake anyway?”
“I sent it to an expert who told me it’s not sapphire but plain glass with blue pearls in it. Surprised?”
“Honestly, I am. Then it means one thing; the President never owned a sapphire ring after all,” Kate said flatly.
“Don’t dare play such games with me, Kate. You can’t imagine what I’m capable of doing,” Jason threatened, boiling with rage.
“Of course I do, Jason. Like you trading your closest friend for a precious ring. But what can you do now? Send Gabby to prison, you know that’s an illusion now,” Kate said with a tone of triumph.
“You are wrong again, my dearest Kate. Of course you didn’t expect me to hand over the file without having a backup file, did you?” Kate’s heart was pounding madly.
“Well, you might be right about that. You might have slightly saved your brother but you can’t escape my wrath, Kate. Get me the ring before you meet the most miserable time of your life, Kate,” Jason warned.
“My most miserable time was when my parents died and left Gabby and I alone in this world and I was able to overcome it, so that doesn’t move me, Jason.”
“Get me the ring, Kate.”
“If you still believe that there’s another sapphire ring, why don’t go for it yourself? We’re over,” Kate said and hung up.
“Oh no, he found out. What am I going to do?” Kate asked herself, scared.

“Listen to me, Kate…hello, hello.” The line went dead. He hung up.
“This is going to be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in your life, Kate,” Jason said to himself.

Jason burst into Gabby’s house.
“Why did you have to break into my house like that, huh? I thought I made it clear to you that we’re no longer friends,” Gabby said.
“That’s true because from today onwards, you and your silly little sister have declared yourselves as my sworn enemies. I won’t be surprised if you connived with your sister to bring me a fake ring,” Jason said.
“Fake ring? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Stop pretending, Gabby. It doesn’t suit you. Tell Kate to get me the ring within seven days or else…”
“Or else what?”
“You’re damn lucky you’re out of my grip but not Kate. You know me too well, Gabby. If I lose my temper, the sky is my limit when I start to do crazy things. Let me warn you, if Kate doesn’t get me the ring within seven days, it would be easier for a rat to tear down trees in a forest than for her to escape my wrath. Have a nice day,” Jason said and started walking out. When he reached the door, he paused and said, “Seven days, Gabby; seven days.” He left.
“Damn. The son of a bitch found out,” Gabby said to himself.

“What do we do now, Gabby? I’m afraid Jason would attempt something drastic,” Kate said.
“Just be calm, okay? He has no proof against you so don’t worry. But I suggest you resign and leave the White House immediately,” Gabby said.
“What leave the White House? Come on, you know I can’t do that.”
“Why’s that?”
“Is it because of David?”
“Yes. He proposed to me but I rejected because of the guilt I have on my conscience about the ring.”
“But you stole no ring.”
“I know but…”
“Listen Kate, if David is for you, it doesn’t matter where you go, you’ll still be together in the end, okay? For the meantime, ignore all his threats. He can’t do anything,” Gabby assured his sister.
“All right. Take care of yourself, honey.”
“I will. I advise you do the same.”
“I will; love you.”
“Love you too,” Gabby said and hung up.

Jason entered Bill’s office. Bill was drinking whisky as he looked through the newspaper.
“Good morning, Mr. White,” Jason greeted as he puffed out the smoke from his cigarette.
“Good morning, young man. How can I help you?”
“I came for us to make a deal.”
“A deal?” Bill asked. Pete entered.
“I am Jason and I think we both have common interests. Can I sit?”
“Sure.” He did.
“Well, he’s Pete, my right hand man. I hope you don’t mind him being here.”
“As long as he’d be secretive as possible.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Pete said.
“Want a drink, Jason?”
“Um…vodka, please.”
“I’ll go and get it,” Pete offered and went and came back, one glass for Jason, one for himself. Pete sat. Jason sipped his drink.
“As I said, I’m Jason and I’m a…drug baron.”
Bill and Pete exchanged a quick glance. Bill sat up.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve no connection or transaction with drug dealers. And the last time I checked, Pete isn’t into drugs,” Bill said.
“I know but we all have our bad sides, don’t we? I know you made old Tom make that outrageous statement about the President’s ring,” Jason said. Bill and Pete exchanged another glance. Bill swallowed hard.
“If you’re here to blackmail me, then I’m sorry to disappoint you, young man,” Bill said.
Jason chuckled.
“I’m not here to blackmail you, Mr. White,” Jason replied coolly.
“So what do you want? Who told you that, anyway?”
Jason threw the folder Gabby had given him before Bill and smoked his cigarette. When Bill opened the file the folder, he gaped at it in shock. Jason took it back.
“So if you’re not here to blackmail me, why are you here?”
“It’s only the poor, desperate, homeless and hungry who blackmail to earn some money for food. As I said, I came to propose a deal.”
“And what deal is that?”
“I know your biggest dream is to win this year’s elections and the only way to do that is to tarnish Mr. President’s image which you attempted anyway. I know a young girl in that White House who is trying to play games with me,” Jason said.
“How is this connected?” Pete asked.
“We can use this girl to tarnish the image of the President which will benefit you and I want that girl crushed down beyond compare of any kind,” Jason said.
“That sounds interesting. How do we do that?” Bill asked.
“I have to fill you in but I want your word that whatever we discuss in this office will not leave these four walls,” Jason said.
“Of course, Mr. Jason.”
“Okay, it’s about this lady called Kate whom I helped to get employed at the White House with the aim of stealing the President’s ring for me.” He paused.
“Oh I see, that ring attracted us both,” Bill said.
“Yeah, but the girl thought it wise to bring me a fake one. I want to deal with her for that,” Jason said.
“I still don’t see the connection here,” Pete chipped in.
“I made this lady the President’s PA so we can work something out to make the public believe that the girl is having an affair with the President.”
“I now see your point,” Bill said after a pause, smiling, “I think I like your idea.”
“Though I want to punish the girl, I still want the ring,” Jason added quickly.
“How do we accomplish that?”
“I want someone to work on our behalf in that White House,” Jason said.
“You can do this, Pete, can’t you?” Bill asked.
“Of course I can. I would like to have a taste of how life is in that White House,” Pete said, grinning.
“Good, that’s settled. How he’d get in there is my business and I’ll handle that. Now, we need to make real evidence that Kate is having an affair with Mr. President,” Jason said.
“Like a tape and a picture?” Pete asked.
“Exactly. Can’t we use the computer? I’ve heard it’s capable of doing crazy unimaginable stuff these days. That can only be thought of when I’ve entered the White House and I can take a picture of them together and record some conversations,” Pete said.
“That’s true. All right, thanks for your cooperation. We’ll talk later,” Jason said, offering his hand. Bill took it.
“I admire your honesty and straightforwardness, young man,” Bill said, shaking his hand.
“I go in for what I want and I don’t waste time on it. See you two later,” Jason said and left.
“There seems to be some hope left after all,” Bill said happily.

Kate was working when her phone rang. She took it.
“Hello, Kate speaking.”
“I want to give a last chance, Kate; get me the ring and let’s end this nightmare.”
“Jason, I thought I told you not to call this number again. We’re over.”
“Listen, I’m giving you a chance not to experience what my fury is like, Kate. I don’t want to do this but if you keep pushing to the wall, I will.”
“Do your worst, Jason. You can’t harm me. I got you what you wanted so leave me alone. If it’s really fake as you say, then they lied to me about it. What do you expect me to do?”
“You know you’re lying. There’s no way the President could have lied to the whole country. So, what’s your final say?”
“There’s absolutely nothing to say about it, Jason. We’re over.”
“Then I’m sorry Kate, if disaster begins to rain down on you, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Go to hell!” Kate said and hung up. She sighed deeply.
“I can see someone’s bothering you,” David said, leaning against the door. Kate’s heart jumped.
“David…what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” Kate said.
“Yes, but I just came over to see you so that we can talk.”
“Um…not now, really. I’m kind of busy.”
“All right, we could go out tonight, what do you say?”
“Nah, if you’d excuse me, I’ve got some work to do,” Kate said as she picked up some folders and walked away.
Oh God, I hope he didn’t hear our conversation, Kate thought.

The doorbell rang.
“I’m coming,” Kate said and went to open the door.
“David…um hi,” Kate said, surprised.
“Hi, can we talk now? I don’t think you’re doing anything important right now, are you?”
“No, come in.” He entered and she closed the door.
“Tell me, why are you avoiding me?” David asked, turning to face her.
“Avoiding you? I…don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kate said, passing by him to sit down. He held her by the arm.
“Of course you know what I’m talking about, Kate. You always give excuses these days so you wouldn’t go out with me; you don’t answer my calls, tell me what’s going on?” David asked.
“I’m not avoiding you, David. Why on earth would I want to do that?” Kate asked.
“I don’t know, you tell me. Is it because of that guy who called you the other day? I heard you saying, ‘we’re over.’” Kate’s heart jumped. She freed herself out of David’s grip.
“That shouldn’t bother you but let me tell you this; we can’t be together. It…won’t work.”
“Why? You said you love me, didn’t you?”
Kate turned her back to him.
“I won’t deny that. I do love you, David, but we can’t be together.”
“I’m ready to marry you, sweetheart. All I want is for you to say yes. I love you, Kate. No matter what happens, I’ll always love you.”
“That’s a lie, David. You won’t be saying the same thing if you discovered that…”
“I don’t want to discover anything, Kate. All I want is for you to love me back, to be in my arms forever,” David said and kissed her. For a moment, Kate lost focus and gave in to him. Before it could go any further, Kate broke off.
“I’m sorry David, but this can’t work.”
“And why’s that? Is it because of that guy? I could talk to him to stop harassing you.”
“No, David. It’s not about him. It’s not what you think, anyway.”
“So explain to me then,” David insisted.
“I can’t, David. Let’s part ways, okay? Let this kiss signify the end of our friendship, please.”
“No, I can’t do that.”
“Please understand.”
“How can I understand if you’re not saying anything?”
“I can’t say anything. Henceforth, I’m nothing but your daddy’s PA; just that.”
“What if I don’t accept it?”
“Then I’ll resign and leave the city and I’m serious about this, David. You’re a young, good looking guy. I’m sure another innocent babe will fall for you in no time,” Kate said.
“Why are you doing this, Kate?”
“It’s the best for us.” Before David could say another word, she added, “I want to go to bed now so could you please leave?”
David stared at her for sometime. “I’m not giving up on you, Kate. Never,” he said and left. Tears filled Kate’s eyes.
“Damn you, Jason. I curse the day you came into my life,” Kate said as the tears began to flow. But you probably wouldn’t have met David if it weren’t for Jason, a voice said in Kate’s head.
“I hate you, Jason! For making me fall in love with a guy you’ve made impossible for me to be with,” Kate said and broke into tears.

One day, Kate was on her way to the President’s office when she met a stranger; a guy in dark shades.
“Hello, do you work here?” she asked him.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m Pete, Mr. President’s new bodyguard.”
“Oh so you’re new. I’m Kate.”
“Nice to meet you, Miss.”
“Same here.”
“Got to be on my way now,” he excused himself and left.
When she was in the President’s office, she said, “I just met your new bodyguard, Pete. I thought you had enough already.”
“Yeah, you know, I’ve a public speech to make soon. I need extra security,” Mr. President said.
“I see. He looks…kind of…”
“Strange?” he helped.
“Yes, weird, you know. Are you sure you can trust him with that sensitive position?”
“I should think so because I’ve been informed that he has no criminal record and he has got some military training. And he was strongly recommended by trustworthy security personnel.”
“All right, then. This is the files you asked for,” Kate said, handling them over to him.
“Thanks. Can you get me some coffee?”
“Sure, Sir. A minute, please.” She came back and served him.
“Thanks. Kate, do you mind having dinner with me tonight? You know my wife has gone to visit the Queen of England. I need some company.”
“Of course Mr. President; it would be my utmost pleasure.”
“All right then. Go back to work.”
“Okay sir,” she said and left.

Later, as Pete listened to their conversation he recorded on his phone, he muttered, “Damn. That Kate lady doesn’t seem to trust me. I’ve got to do this fast before it blows up.”

As Kate and Mr. President were dining together, David came in. Kate’s heart missed a beat.
“Hi son. Welcome. I was having chitchat with my PA. I needed some company for dinner. Come on, sit down and join us,” Mr. President said.
“Yes, dad. I can see you’re really enjoying her company,” he said and sat, facing Kate. Kate began to feel nervous. Throughout dinner, David kept staring at Kate but his dad who was so cheerful to notice, kept on talking.
After she had cleared up everything, she said, “Thanks for the dinner, Mr. President. You spared me mine.”
“That’s okay, goodnight. Take care of yourself and see you tomorrow,” Mr. President said.
“Goodnight His Excellency,” and with a last glance at David, she left the room.
“Excuse me, dad,” David said and got up.
“Okay.” He left and went outside.
“Kate.” She stopped. When she turned, David had caught up with her.
“Let me take you home,” he offered.
“No, thanks. I know my way around.” she said and started walking away. He held her arm.
“Kate please, for our good old times’ sake.”
“There was no good old time, David. Take it that way.”
“No, I insist,” he said with a firm grip on her arm.
“Okay, I can see you won’t let me go if I say no.”

As they were driving to her place, David called his dad.
“Dad, I’m taking Kate home. I’ll be back soon. There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
“All right. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Okay, bye,” he said and hung up. When he switched on the radio, a love song was being played. They stole glances at each other and she looked away. Why do I have to be in this situation, Kate thought.
When he pulled up in front of her apartment, they both got sown at the same time. David went to the other side, held Kate and pushed her against the car and kissed her passionately. By the time he released her, they were both out of breath.
“I just want you to remember this kiss whenever you’re with any other man. That no man can ever kiss you this way to take your breath away,” David said and went to sit in his car. He drove away.
“Oh David, heaven knows I love you,” she said to herself and went inside her apartment.

“Mum, dad, I proposed to Kate but she rejected it and said we can’t be together.”
“And did she say why?”
“No, only she knows why.”
“Don’t worry, give her some time. It happens. Maybe, she’s confused about how she feels whether it’s true love or mere attraction,” the First Lady said.
“You think so?”
“That’s possible. Only God knows how I suffered before I got your mum to marry me,” Mr. President said.
“Is that so?” David asked, smiling.
“She wanted to play typically female with me, you know; hard to get.”
“I see.”

“You look very beautiful today, Kate,” Mr. President said admiringly and touched her chin lightly. Kate smiled. She began to blush.
“Thank you, Sir,” she responded, looking at the floor.
“David told me you two are having some problems. Is that true?”
“Sort of. I…I hope we settle it soon enough.”
“I hope so too. He’s getting edgy about this whole issue. You know, David is one of the best gentlemen you can have as a husband. Don’t miss this opportunity, Kate,” he said in a fatherly tone.
“Yes Mr. President.” He went to sit down.
“Get my schedule for today, Kate.”
“Yes Mr. President.” She left the office.

“This is what I’ve got so far, guys,” Pete said, after playing what he had recorded.
“This is not good enough,” Bill said.
“That’s how far we’ll go with this, Bill. Remember, they are not having an affair. There won’t be any close contact between them so we have to emphasize our point with this,” Jason said, showing the picture of Mr. President touching Kate’s chin.
“So, what do we do now?” Bill asked.
“Well, we have a recorded conversation where Mr. President said, ‘You’re looking very beautiful today, Kate and Kate saying, ‘Thank you.’ We can create an obscene audio so that whatever will be recorded of their voices will be dubbed and manipulated to sound like that of the President and Kate’s,” Jason suggested.
“What about the pictures?”
“We’ll have problems with that, but we can still manage it.”
“It will send the expected message.”
“You’re smart, Jason. I’ll reward you greatly if I get to become the next president this time,” Bill promised, shaking hands with Jason.
“You’ll be President, Mr. White.”
“Not with this,” Pete said suddenly. Bill and Jason turned to face him.
“This is because, although it would cause problems with the President’s family, they’d definitely keep it secret. The public won’t hear of this so our aim wouldn’t have been accomplished,” Pete explained.
“There seems to be some sense in what Pete’s saying,” Bill said.
“Uh huh, I overlooked that. But that can be solved too. We can give a copy of the tape to the press,” Jason said.
“After blackmailing them for a while,” Pete added suggestively.
“You’re a genius, Pete!” Jason exclaimed, giving him a hi five.
“We could make money out of this,” Jason said.
“Exactly,” Bill said.
Let’s see who’ll have the last laugh, James Kennedy, Bill thought.
“So let’s get to work then,” Jason urged.

About two weeks later, Mr. President was having a hearty chat with his wife and his son, David when Pete entered with a parcel.
“You’ve got a parcel, Mr. President,” he said humbly.
“All right, let me have it. I hope it was thoroughly screened,” he said.
“Yes Mr. President,” Pete said, as he gave it to him.
“Thanks, Pete.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. President. Excuse me,” he said and left the room.
“Let me help you with that,” David offered. He opened it.
“It contains a tape.”
Mr. President and his wife exchanged a quick glance.
“Let’s listen to it.”
“Yeah, it could be a message from the al-Qaeda,” David said ironically as he put it in a tape player and pressed play.
“You look very beautiful today, Kate.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“You know you drive me crazy.” There was the sound of kisses and moaning.
“You’re so sweet, Kate.”
“You’re the most wonderful man I’ve ever met, Mr. President.” David stopped it.
“What the hell was that all about?” he asked obviously disgusted by what he just heard.
“James, are you having an affair with Kate?” the First Lady asked.
“No, no, of course not. I don’t how the person came by this tape,” Mr. President said.
“Come on, dad. It was recorded. That was your voice and that of Kate’s. I can’t believe this,” David accused as he took the picture out of the package. Mr. President was holding Kate’s chin.
“So you’re actually having an affair with Kate,” David exclaimed as she showed the picture to him. The First Lady took it.
“James, this is unbelievable. How could you stoop so low to cheat on me with a girl young enough to be our daughter?” the First Lady asked.
“No, this is a set up!”
“Come on, dad. Are you out of words now?”
“It’s not what you think. I…I…” Mr. President touched his chest.
“Dad, what is it?” He passed out.
“James, James, oh no; let’s rush him to the hospital. Guards, please come in and help us,” David’s mum cried out as David took the tape and picture and put it back in the envelope.

Mr. President was rushed to the hospital.
“How’s he, doctor?”
“Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack. His condition is extremely critical at the moment. But I assure you, we’ll do our very best to see him through,” the doctor said.
“Please do everything in your power to save my husband,” the First Lady pleaded in tears.
‘Of course, Her Excellency. He’s our President. I’m on my way to the office. The nurses are attending to him,” the doctor said.
“Can we see him?”
“No, not now. He needs absolute rest; no disturbance of any sort. So, you can go home and get some rest yourselves. You can come and check on him tomorrow.”
“All right, doctor. Let’s go home, mum,” David said.

David took his mum home.
“I can’t believe James is cheating on me.”
“Calm down, mum. You know you have a BP condition. You don’t need to get yourself worked up like this.”
“I’ll sort this thing out. As the doctor said, you need to rest.”
David waited for his mum to change and go to bed. He covered her and kissed her forehead.
“Get some rest, mum. I’ll be out for sometime but I’ll be back to check up on you, all right?” he said softly and started walking away. When he opened the door, his mum asked, “You’re going to Kate’s place, right? To confront her, I’m sure.” There was a pause.
“Probably, mum. Have some rest. I’ll be right back.”

Kate was watching a sitcom and enjoying a hamburger when the program was interrupted.
“Breaking news: Our President, His Excellency James Kennedy has been admitted at St. Philip’s hospital due to a sudden heart attack.”
David burst into the room and slammed the door. Kate stood.
“David, what happened? I just heard the news.” David just glared at her.
“What is it, David? Come on tell me!”
“He couldn’t take it when his illicit affair got exposed.’
“Illicit affair? What are you talking about, Dave?”
“I’ll show you.” He gave her the picture. She looked at it.
“Oh no, who could have done this?”
“That’s not the question you should be asking. The question is why you did this?” David asked.
“Come on David, you can’t base your accusations on this picture. He’s like a father to me, for heaven’s sake,” Kate said, defensively.
“Of course, a father to you in bed, I suppose. How does he treat you? Does he massage you or does he…”
‘Come on, Dave; just cut it out, ok? What the hell are you insinuating?”
“The obvious, but this isn’t just it. I’ve got more proof,” he said as he put the tape and pressed play. It played. Kate gaped at the tape recorder and then at David in shock. David stopped it and removed the tape.
“No, no, no. This must be sort of mistake.”
‘Uh huh, tell me about it. You call a live recording of your lovemaking session with my daddy just a mistake?”
‘This is obviously a set up. Obviously someone wants to tarnish Mr. President’s image,” Kate explained.
“You know, just cut out this formality pretence, all right? You might as well call yourself his mistress.”
“That’s insanely ridiculous. That wasn’t me.”
“And how are you going to prove that, huh? Wasn’t that your voice?”
“No, though it sounds like mine, I’m going to say no cause I’ve never said those things to any guy, much less your dad, the President.”
“Oh really? How could someone’s voice sound exactly like yours?”
“That I don’t know, David.”
“Now, I’m beginning to understand everything you told me. You refused to be with me because you wanted the big guy, my dad; the President.”
“What nonsense are you saying, David?”
“I now understand better when you said love wasn’t enough. You meant you needed power, money and fame, right?”
“I’m not that kind of woman; I’m no opportunist!” Kate said, offended.
“You said you couldn’t be with me and now I know it was because of your secret affair with my daddy,” David accused.
“You’ve no idea of what you’re saying, David.”
“Of course I do. At first I didn’t but now I do. You’re my daddy’s mistress, right?”
“Come on David, spare me that. You’re talking trash and you know it.”
“The only disgusting trash I’ve ever encountered is you, Kate. No wonder you’d have the audacity to dine with my dad alone in my mum’s absence. I can see you’ve really got some guts!”
“I really wish this is some kind of a nightmare. I can’t believe you’re talking to me like this. What do you think of me, huh?”
“You’re just like the chameleon, changing your colors to suit the occasion. You’re a shameless slut.”
Kate slapped David very hard on the face. He touched his cheek.
“This is for daring to insult me in my face. I knew it. I knew it was just something you guys would say to get your way with them. ‘No matter what happens, I’ll always love you’ and what am I hearing from you after someone has succeeded in framing me up? I’m a shameless slut. Never try it again or else…”
“Or else what, huh? Are you going to convince my daddy to divorce my mum and give you our inheritance?” Kate was about to slap him again but he caught her hand arresting the stinging slap in midair.
“I’m beginning to know who you really are, Kate: a bloody gold-digger. You’re going to pay big time for this, Kate. You’re going to regret ever stepping foot in the White House for the rest of your life. I promise you,” David said and let go of her hand. He glared at her and left the house.

“What?” Gabby exclaimed.
“It’s like a nightmare, Gabby. I don’t know who could be behind this.”
“I think I know; it’s Jason and Bill White. I won’t be surprised if they joined forces.”
“Who’s Bill?”
“The one behind the ring scandal. He’ll do anything to bring the President down and Jason also wants your downfall. It’s only logical. I told you, Kate; you should have left the White House immediately after you gave Jason the ring,” Gabby said.
“I know I should have listened to you. I wanted to stay because of David but he’s the first to turn against me now. But I can’t leave now. I have to explain to the First Lady and ensure that the President is well again before I leave this place,” Kate said.
“All right, take care of yourself, okay? Do you want me to come over?” Gabby asked.
“I’d really appreciate it, Gabby. I really need you by my side,” Kate said.
“I’ll be there, all right? Calm down and don’t get too excited. Things will be fine,” Gabby assured her.
“All right, love you Gabby.”
“Love you too, sis; bye.”

Kate went to St. Philips hospital to see the President but she wasn’t allowed entry but was told to come later.
“Please don’t die, Sir. Don’t leave me alone in this trouble. We need to tell everyone that it’s not true. Don’t take him away, Lord I beg of you,” Kate prayed silently.

“Please eat something, mum,” David said.
“How could James do this to me?”
“Mum, please…” The phone rang.
“Hello, David Kennedy on the line.”
“I believe you received my little package I sent.”
“Who are you? Why are you doing this?”
“I want an amount of five million dollars. That’s quite cheap, isn’t it? Well, that’s because you’ve got limited time. I want the money tomorrow.”
“What, you dare blackmail the President?”
“I’m not really fond of that word but I’ll try and cope with it. Tomorrow at Cassie’s café. Go and sit by any guy in black suit with dark shades and deliver the money at 8am on the dot. Not a second late or else…”
“Or else what?”
“Come on David, I expect you to be smarter than this. I’ll give copies of the tape and picture to the media. What do you say then?”
“I…I get your point. Tomorrow then.”
“Goodnight,” he said and hung up.
“Who was it, Dave?” the First Lady asked.
“Someone wants to blackmail us. He wants five million dollars by 8am tomorrow or else the tape goes to the media.”
“What, the media?”
“Yes, mum. Five million dollars! Where the hell are we going to get that the kind of money within twelve hours?” David groaned.
“We can get it from our personal accounts, son.”
“No mum, we can’t withdraw more than five hundred thousand dollars from our accounts without the approval from dad. I can’t believe we’re left with no choice but to succumb to this blackmail.”
“So, what should we do? Let’s inform the police.”
“Police? No, mum. Let’s keep the cops out of this. If they get a hint of it, we are good as dead because they will definitely give the tape to the media,” David explained.
“We could find out the one behind this by finding out who has that number, right?” David looked at his phone.
“Sorry mum but I’m afraid our guy is pretty smart. He called with a private number.”
“Then find out to see if your dad is conscious now so we can get his approval,” the First Lady suggested.
“I doubt it, mum.”
“So are we going to just sit here with our arms folded and our legs crossed and watch our family name dragged in the mud because of some cursed tape?”
“Mum, I can’t seem to think right now. I’m confused; I can’t think straight. I’m going to bed,” David said and left the room.

Jason smiled at Bill and Pete as he hung up.
“Do you think he’ll bring it?” Pete asked eagerly.
“Well, he has to if he cherishes his family name. Pete, I still want that ring. Have you made any progress?”
“Yeah, I know where the ring is right now so you’ll get it soon,” Pete assured Jason.
“I can’t wait for Kate to get hit by this second blow,” Jason said.
“My interest is not in the money. I want the media to have the tape,” Bill said.
“If they don’t have the money on them, then they won’t get the money for sure,” Jason said.
“How do you know?”
“According to my undoubtedly reliable sources, the family members cannot withdraw more than five hundred thousand bucks without being endorsed by the President.”
“That’s cool, how did you find out all these?”
“I have my sources; besides I like to be updated on what happens in the White House. So if you get to become the President, I’ll get to know which brand of underwear you use.” They all laughed.
“You’re very smart, Jason. I admire your tactics,” Pete complimented.
“Thank you, Pete. I guess I’m your mentor then.”
“Sure you are. You seem to have a solution to every problem. How’s that?”
“I think it’s my talent. I always thank God for it. It has brought me this far, you know. Poor Kate,” Jason said.

The next morning, David called at the hospital but he was told his father wasn’t conscious yet. He went to his dad’s office to see if he could find any cheques he might have signed there. He was coming out of the office when he saw Kate approaching.
Kate stopped abruptly when her eyes met David’s.
“And what in God’s name are you doing here?” David asked he approached her.
“David, I…I…”
“You came to finish the work you started, huh? After trying to tear my family apart, you still have the guts to come here?”
“I came to work, David.”
“Work?” David asked with a chuckle, “Well, let me inform you, your president lover is not here. He’s ill!”
“And if you’ve got any decency left, just leave this place and never come here again.”
“You can’t dismiss me cause you didn’t employ me here.”
“I see you’ve got some nerves, Kate. Now, by the authority as his oldest son…”
“The Presidency isn’t a family business to be succeeded by the next of kin!” Kate interjected boldly. David glared at her. Kate shook her head in disbelief with tears in her eyes.
“I thought you’d be the only one to trust and be by my side and of course my brother, but I can see I was wrong about you. Anyway, you’re not the vice president. And let me tell you this so that it gets into that obstinate head of yours, that I’m not leaving till Mr. President gets well and together we convince the First Lady that it’s just a lie and a set up.”
“And me?”
‘I don’t really care what you think; not anymore,” Kate said and was about to walk past him when he stopped her by blocking her way with his hand.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going? I just said you’re fired.”
“You can’t fire me, David. You know what, I quit!”
“It took you so long to say it. I can see my daddy’s is very unlucky when it comes to secretaries. They are either thieves, spies or family wreckers,” David said with a tone of sheer disgust.
“All right then. Let me go and pick up my things.”
“What things, huh? You want to finish your task by stealing some vital files from the office?”
“Like stealing his will? I’m not that crazy, David. And somehow, I thank God for making this scandal happen after all because it has served as an eye opener to see what kind of an unbearable monster you are!” Kate snapped and left the place.
“Damn,” David muttered as he hit the wall very hard with his clenched fist. He looked at the clock. It was 7:45am.
“Oh no, I’ve got to see him to give us some more time,” David said and rushed out. By the time he arrived at Cassie’s café, it was 8:15am and no one in the café matched the description given by the caller.

He went back home.
“I didn’t find any cheque in dad’s office, mum. And it was past eight by the time I reached the café. There was no one there,” he told his mum.
“Which only means they will take it to the media,” she said.
“I pray they call again and give us some more time,” David said as he sat and gulped down some whisky.
“And Kate? Have you heard from her?”
“She came to the office today but I told her to leave. She still insists that it was a set up and she has nothing to do with dad. That drives me crazy,” David said in despair.
“Because you’re still in love with her, aren’t you?”
“I hate her now, mum. I hate her because she’s the cause of my dad’s downfall whether the allegation is true or not; because if the media gets hold of the tape, they will make a whole fuss about it and you know what that means’, David said. The door opened.
Kate entered. David stood.
“What do you want?” he asked angrily.
Kate totally ignored him and said, “Please ma’am, hear me out; please.”
“You’re here to say things which will also cause her to have a heart failure and kill her, right?” David bellowed.
“David, don’t talk like that. Kate, come and sit down,” the First Lady said.
“No mum, I won’t allow her filthy ass to touch our sofa,” David said. Kate looked at him in shock. Tears began to flow from her eyes. She knelt in front of the First Lady.
“Please ma’am, it’s not true. I’ve never had any affair with your husband. He has always been like a father to me. I know the sound of our voices on the tape sound just like the President’s and mine but I give you my word that it’s not genuine. USA is known for absurd technology. This definitely is not an exception,” Kate said.
“Spare us that crap, Kate. Do you swear it?”
“I will never swear, David. My Bible tells me so.”
“Oh please,” David said with a sneer.
“Even if you don’t trust me, don’t you trust your dad? How on earth can you think of him stooping so low to have an affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter?”
“I don’t know but he did. I don’t even know how I fell for you. It’s incredible. You’re nothing but a filthy whore!”
“David, where did you learn that filthy language from? Is that how your dad and I brought you up?” the First Lady scolded.
“Kate, you go home, all right? I’ll call you so we can meet later and talk,” she said gently.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Kate said humbly and got up.
“Please ma’am, am I allowed to visit His Excellency at the hospital?” Kate requested.
“You dare not…”
‘Yes, you are, my dear. I understand elections are drawing near so his enemies will definitely scheme against James to bring him down. I also know James won’t betray me like this,” she said sweetly.
“Thanks ma’am; you are an angel.”
“And you are Jezebel, Delilah!”
Kate walked out of the room.
“What is wrong with you?” the First Lady asked.
“I still love her, mum,” he confessed with a pained expression.

When Kate opened the door and saw Gabby, she hugged him tightly.
“Thank God you’re here,” she said.
“I’m here for you, baby.”
He came in and they sat. “I’ve really missed you, Gabby.”
“Yeah, me too. I’m kind of hungry. Any food available?”
“Yeah, I’ve not had dinner either so then we can eat together. Let’s eat from one plate like how we used to when we were younger.”
“Fine with me but don’t be surprised if I cheat you.” Kate chuckled.
As they were eating, Gabby asked, “How’s David taking it?”
“David, well very bad from the look of things. He actually called me filthy names when I went to the White House. He called me a whore, a gold-digger, Jezebel, Delilah…”
“You don’t say; you must be kidding me,” Gabby said, stunned.
“I wish I was, brother. I can’t believe he was the same guy who used to say the sweet words to me. It’s amazing. You guys are amazing, Gabby.”
“Sometimes we all are. So you now see what he’s capable of doing.”
“Uh huh, gosh I was actually dreaming of marrying him someday and giving birth to a son who’d call you Uncle Gabby.”
“You’ll find that Prince Charming or Mr. Right or whatever you girls call it very soon.”
“And it’s definitely not David Kennedy.”
“Let’s drink the juice together,” Kate suggested. They both sucked the juice from the straws.
“You know, sometimes I wished you were not my brother. I wish you were…someone else, someone I could meet and fall in love with; get married, have kids and spend life together,” Kate confessed.
“Oh Kate,” Gabby said as he kissed her forehead.
“Tell me Gabby, are you really my brother? Because I’d marry…”
“Shhh….Kate, I’m your brother and you’re my sister. You’ll find your dream guy.”
“And you?”
“I will too; after we leave this place and go somewhere far and start all over again,” Gabby said. Kate smiled.
“I can’t wait for that day. Your future woman will be happiest woman in the whole wide world.”
“The same applies to you. Now let’s clear up and wash the plates and then we’ll watch a movie together,” Gabby suggested.
“All right, that’s a good idea. I hope you’ll be staying for sometime.”
“Yeah, I’ll wait for you to settle everything with the Kennedy’s and then we’ll leave. I hope you like the idea.”
“I’m cool with it as far as it’s coming from you.”

They were watching TV when the phone rang. He took it.
“Hello, David Kennedy speaking. Who’s this?”
“I can see you failed to appear at the appointed place. You’ve made your choice, right?”
“Listen please, the money isn’t available now. Please give me some time. My dad will soon be well…”
“I’m sorry David but there’s no second chance for you so you know what I’ll do?”
“I’ll deliver the tape and picture to the media as I assured you before.”
“And I’ll wait for you to get well enough to listen to news and read the papers.”
“Please, let’s talk about this.”
“Goodnight, David,” he said and hung up.

Few days later, Mr. President was discharged and sent home.
“Dad, the one who brought the tape wanted an amount of five million dollars to shut up but because you were not well, we couldn’t get the money from the bank and he has threatened to give copies of the tape to the media.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes dad. He said he’ll do it when you’ve gotten well.”
“How did he come by such a tape? It must have the work of a spy in disguise working here. I don’t know what to do.” There was a pause.
“Yes son.”
“Is it true…that you had any intimacy with Kate?”
“No son. I don’t know who’d be crazy to think of an absurd thing like this. Why am I being attacked so much this year? First, I had to deal with that crazy old man who claimed I had stolen state property. You believe me, don’t you?”
“I don’t know, Dad. My heart tells me to, but the voices on the tape…”
“Sound real, yeah. But we’re in USA, son and we’re known for super crazy technology, David. Kate is like a daughter to me.”
“All right, dad. You need some rest.”

Few days later, Kate was setting the table for breakfast when someone slipped a newspaper under the door inside.
“Are you supplied with daily newspapers?” Gabby asked.
“All right, he just brought you one.” Gabby went to take the newspaper and opened it. It read: Mr. President in a ‘HOT’ affair with PA?’
“What?” Gabby exclaimed.
“What is it, Gabby?” He showed it to her.
“Oh no, this can’t be!”
“It’s Jason,” Gabby said.
“That’s possible. He threatened he’ll make me pay for deceiving him. How are the Kennedy’s going to take this?”
“Jason had the guts to disgrace you world wide. I must face him.”
“No, Gabby. You’ve no business to do with him anymore.”
“But I just can’t sit down and watch him destroy you, Kate.”
“Please don’t do anything silly. It can cost us a lot,” Kate pleaded.

David was having breakfast with his parents when his younger brother, Chris came in with a newspaper.
“Chris, welcome home!” Mr. President said happily.
“Thanks dad. From the look of things, it’s obvious you don’t know what’s going on. Can someone please explain this to me?” he asked, showing them the newspaper.
“Mr. President in a ‘HOT’ affair with PA?” David read out loud.
“This is unbelievable. Who wants to do this to me?” Mr. President moaned.
“So he actually did it,” David said.
“My enemies have succeeded in crushing me. How do I stand before people and demand respect?”
“Who’s Kate?”
“The PA obviously.”
“Is it true, dad? Are you having an affair? Are you really cheating on mum?”
“No son. Your dad won’t do such a thing. I believe it’s a scheme.”
“Then what kind of an outrageous scheme is that? It says there’s a tape…”
“Yes son, it sounds very real but I’m innocent. Kate is like…”
“A daughter to you,” David added quickly with a sarcastic tone. Mr. President turned sharply to look at him.
“Do you by any chance doubt me, David?”
“I believe dad’s innocent. to me, dad is almost insensitive to the advances of women. Who knows, that Kate lady is working for your enemies. They might be using her to get to you,” Chris said.
“I don’t think Kate is capable of doing such a thing,” Mr. President said. David and Chris exchanged a glance.
“I can see you really trust her, dad,” Chris said.
“I also believe Kate’s innocent,” the First Lady said.
“Well…,” David said reluctantly.
“If there’s anyone who’d turn against Kate, it shouldn’t be you when she’s your girlfriend,” the First Lady said.
“She’s your girlfriend, Dave?” Chris asked, surprised.
“What do you expect, when she told me she couldn’t be with me for reasons best to know her alone and I get to hear she’s having an affair with my dad, isn’t it logical to believe it?” David explained. Pete entered with an envelope.
“What is it, Pete?” Mr. President asked.
“Um Sir, I’m here to hand in my resignation letter.”
“What, you’re resigning now that I need you the most?”
“I’m sorry Sir but it’s necessary that I do it, Sir.”
“What could be more necessary than protecting the President from his perpetrators?” David asked.
“My daddy has taken very ill and I need to be by him as he’s sick now since there’s no one to take care of him.”
“He doesn’t have any other person, you said?”
“I’m his only son and…my mother’s late.”
“Sorry about that. But I could grant you leave,” the President offered.
“I’d have loved that but I don’t know when my daddy’s going to be well so it will be better if I resign,” Pete insisted.
“Ah well, if you insist. Wait,” he said as he took out his cheque book and signed it.
“Here’s a cheque of half a million dollars. Thanks for your service, Pete,” Mr. President said as he handed the cheque over to him. He took it.
“Thanks, Sir. May God richly bless you. Please excuse me,” He said and left.
“He really wants to leave, he was so persistent,” Chris observed.
“And that makes me wonder because it hasn’t been even two months since he came here. Perhaps, he had a hidden agenda and has completed it,” David said.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Chris said.

Pete entered Bill’s office. Jason was there with Bill.
“Deal’s done!” Pete announced.
“Congrats, Pete; let’s drink to our success,” Bill proposed as he poured some champagne into a glass for Pete sipped it.
“How did you like your stay at the White House?” Jason asked.
“Very much and Mr. President was so kind to offer me a cheque of five hundred thousand dollars to thank me for my service,” Pete said, showing them the cheque.
“Service of destroying him actually,” Jason added.
“Whatever and I brought you your heart desire, Jason; the sapphire ring,” he said and gave it to him.
“Wow, I finally have it!”
“So, now that our contract has been executed, I think we should end everything by having dinner together. I’ll take you to one of the most popular restaurants in town and the bill is on me,” Bill said.
“I like that. Cheers again,” Jason said as he sipped his drink.

“I strongly believe that Jason is behind this scandal,” Gabby commented.
“But why? If he wants to destroy me, why did he have to involve the President? The President will be more affected than I will,” Kate said.
“Jason is the kind of guy who doesn’t care who he hurts and destroys in the way when he has made up his mind to do something. I know him well enough.”
“So should we confront him?”
“And what good would that do to us? Even if he admits it, there’s nothing we can do about it. The harm’s already been done.”
“The whole world now sees me to be a bloody gold-digger. It all happened so fast, within a snap of a finger,” Kate said.
“Come to think of it, Kate; Jason sent you to the White House to get him the ring and you refused and he still wanted it badly, don’t you think he sent someone else to get it for him?” Gabby asked.
“That’s possible, very possible.”
“Did someone new come into the White House?”
“Yeah, Pete, he was employed as Mr. President’s new bodyguard. I found that unnecessary. I was found him quite weird, actually,” Kate said.
“That’s it! It was Pete who took that picture.”
“What about the tape? We did no such thing.”
“Maybe he recorded some of your conversations and dubbed it to make that trash on tape!”
“Is that possible?”
“Everything’s possible under the sun, Kate,” Gabby reminded her, “especially when technology is involved. You know USA is known for that.”
“I think I should go to the White House and resign so that we can get out of here. As far as the Kennedy’s believe that I’m innocent, I’ll be fine. You know it’ll be impossible to convince the whole world that I’m innocent,” Kate said.
“All right, we’ll go back to my place and pack some stuff and arrange for some place quiet in Seattle.”
“Fine, then. I’ll go to the White House tomorrow.”
“And David, have you gotten over him yet?”
“Surprisingly yes. Thank God I didn’t fall so much in love with him. He’s definitely not my kind of guy.” Gabby kissed her forehead.
“You’ll find him, very soon,” he assured her.

At the White House…
“Um…Sir, after everything that has happened I’ve decided that it’s best if I resign and leave this place and start all over. At least, I’ll leave with the assurance that your family knows that I’m innocent,” Kate said.
“All right, if you say so. But don’t forget to call me whenever you need help. I’m your foster daddy, right?” Mr. President said. Kate smiled.
“Take care of yourself, will you?” the First Lady said.
“I will.”
David burst into the room, boiling with anger.
“What is it, son?”
“The sapphire ring…is nowhere to be found, dad.”
Kate’s heart jumped. David turned to look at Kate.
Kate’s worst fear has happened. Her face turned pale.

“What do you mean the sapphire ring is nowhere to be found? Where did you put it?”
“Where it has always been,” he answered with his eyes still fixed on Kate.
“But this is ridiculous! No one outside this family knows where the ring is kept,” Mr. President said.
“Sorry to disappoint you, dad but an outsider knows.”
“What, you told an outsider? Why did you do that?” the First Lady asked.
“I thought she was trustworthy enough but she proved me wrong.”
“Tell me, who’s she? Let’s get the security guards to look for her right away,” the President said.
Oh God, I’m doomed, Kate thought.
“Who’s that thief, that gold-digger and scumbag who was stupid enough to take away our precious family inheritance?” the President asked in anger.
“It’s no one but the girl both of you like so much…Kate.” Both the President and his wife turned to look at her in shock.
“I didn’t take the ring. It’s not me,” Kate said innocently.
“Are you sure she’s the only one who knows that room?” Mr. President asked. Kate knelt down.
“Yes, dad and Kate knows that.”
“Oh no, please let me explain. I think I have an idea of who has it now but I didn’t take it.”
“How do you mean?”
“There’s this guy who got me to work here to steal the ring for him or else he’ll send my only brother and family to prison. But I didn’t want to because of the love I have for this family so I convinced David to make a duplicate; that’s the one we used for the public display and I also told David to keep the ring in the bank and I took the duplicate to him.”
“What’s his name?”
“I just know him as Jason but unfortunately, he found out that the ring wasn’t genuine and started pressurizing me to get him the genuine one but I kept telling him there wasn’t any other ring but I think he didn’t believe me. He threatened to make my life miserable…” A thought struck her.
“What, what is it?” the First Lady asked.
“I think Pete took it.”
“What, how could you think that?”
“Because it’s possible that Jason found a way of making him come near you so that he took that picture, recorded our voices and make that silly tape. Where’s he now?”
“He has resigned.”
“That confirms it! He stole the ring and made up all that scandal to punish me and then disappeared. That’s the truth, Sir.”
“There’s seems to be some sense in what Kate’s saying,” the President said.
“Are you serious, mum? Well, I don’t believe anything she said, for now I mean. Till we get Pete and confirm it, I won’t,” David said.
“All right; go home Kate but don’t leave the city till we clear this up. I’ll send the cops to look for Pete immediately.”
“Yes Sir, thank you Sir,” Kate said as she got up.
“Go home, all right? Things will be fine,” the First Lady comforted as she saw Kate being nervous.
“Yes ma’am,” Kate replied and with a stolen glance at David, she left.
“Things will never cease to amaze me, you know. You two trust her too much,” David said.
“Did you really love her, son? Because if you did, you would trust her every word,” Mr. President said.
“If I didn’t trust her, I wouldn’t have shown her where the ring was kept, dad. I’m confused.”

“What happened, sis?”
‘”The worst happened, Gabby,” she replied as she took the glass of vodka he was holding and gulped it down.
“Hey, what’s wrong? I’ve never seen you drink alcohol like that.”
“There’s always a first time. You won’t believe this; Gabby but Jason finally got his way.”
“How do you mean?”
“The ring is gone.”
“Exactly as you heard, Gabby. Jason has the ring now and I’m sure Pete stole it but David thinks it’s me because I’m the only outsider who knew where the ring was kept.”
“And where’s Pete?”
“He has resigned.”
“Oh good Lord! After causing that scandal, he left after he was done.”
“Exactly. If Pete appears missing, that’s it. David will definitely take me to jail.”
“David? Come on, David can’t be that bad.”
“Maybe but he hates me now. Jason is really making life a living hell for me,” Kate groaned. The phone rang. Gabby pressed hands free.
“Ah Gabby, you’re by your sister’s side in times of trouble. That’s interesting. Hi Kate, how are you coping with my package? I hope you’re enjoying it. I’m happy to announce to you that I’ve got my heart desire: the sapphire ring. My gift for you is a world wide disdain for you, Kate; an eternal one.”
“Listen you bastard…,” Gabby started but Kate stopped him.
“It’s okay.”
“The next time we meet, we’ll have dinner together and talk about the good old days,” Jason said teasingly, laughed and hung up.
“What are we going to do, Gabby?” Kate asked helplessly.
“It’s okay, we’ll find a way out,” Gabby said as he put her head on his chest. “Things will be fine.”
“I doubt it, Gabby. Everything is against me now.”

“Dad, we can’t locate Pete. I think he has left the city,” David said.
“So he stole it, that imbecile,” Mr. President said with his fists clenched.
The phone rang. Mr. President took it.
“Hello, Mr. President speaking.”
“Mr. President, I know who has the ring; your ring.”
He looked at his son. He pressed hands free and put the receiver down.
“Kate works at your office, right? She stole it and gave it to her brother called Gabby. They intend to sell it secretly for a large sum.”
“Who are you?” David asked.
“That’s not important. I was Gabby’s friend but not anymore and I thought it wise to tell you the truth because it’s about you, Mr. President, my president.”
“But she claims it’s Pete, a bodyguard who resigned recently.”
“That’s a lie. She wants to distract you so that she can run away to a far away place where you can’t find her; and she’s behind the tape scandal. She wanted to get money from you by blackmailing you.”
“She’s definitely no angel.”
“I can’t believe this!”
“Well at least, I’ve a clear conscience now. Bye.”
“Wait…” He hung up.
“Go and arrest Kate immediately and lock her up!” Mr. President said angrily.
“You don’t trust her now?” David asked.
“People are not meant to be trusted.” David chuckled.
“All right, I’ll take my leave now,” he said and left the room.

Kate was alone in her apartment when David entered with two cops. Kate stood.
“What is it? Why are cops in my house?”
“Because there’s a criminal in here,” David answered.
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re being charged with theft, false accusation and obstruction of justice and of course, blackmail.”
“What? What kind of joke of this, David? I know you hate me now but…”
“You could call it a dry joke, Kate but no, I don’t hate you. You disgust me. Cops, arrest her!”
“What, David, what are you doing?” Kate asked, confused and stunned.
The cops handcuffed her and took her away.

Later, when Gabby came in, he found the place empty.
“Kate, Kate, where are you? Kate!”
“Breaking news: The one who stole the President’s ring, Kate Campbell, His Excellency’s PA has been arrested and confined in the states prison in D.C. Kate has also been charged with bringing up that ridiculous tape to jeopardize the image of our President and blackmailing him. More updated details will be communicated to you later.”
“Good heavens! Kate in prison? Oh no, I’ve got to see her,” Gabby said and rushed to the prison.

“Gabby.” Their fingers intertwined across the bars. Kate was crying.
“They think the tape was my plan and that I blackmailed the Kennedy’s. I’m scared, Gabby. I’m scared of being sentenced to life.”
“No, that won’t happen. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll contact my lawyer to handle your case but I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning. I need to see Jason.”
“No, Gabby. Don’t leave me here all alone. Besides, Jason has proved himself to be very dangerous, please Gabby; I don’t want to lose you,” Kate pleaded.
“I’ll be fine, Kate. You’ll get out of here as soon as possible. I’ve to do this cause everything that’s happening to you is my fault.”
“Time’s up!”
“I love you, Kate,” Gabby said and kissed her hand.
“Love you too. Take care of yourself.”
“You too, got to go. I’ll contact my lawyer right away,” he assured her and left.
“God, protect my brother, please,” Kate prayed.

The next morning, Gabby took the first flight back home and went to see his lawyer.
“I want you to handle my sister’s case.”
“That will be very complicated and interesting. A commoner against the President,” the lawyer said.
“I know but she needs one. She’s innocent; someone wants to frame her up.”
“Any suspects?”
“Jason and Bill White, probably.”
“Bill White? Are you sure?” the lawyer asked, surprised.
“Just investigate these two guys.”
“Jason what?”
“Jason Peters. In fact, he’s a drug baron.”
“What? How did you know?”
“I used to work with him but not anymore. Kate’s in the state’s prison in D.C.”
“All right, I’ll be there tomorrow,” the lawyer assured him.
“Now, I’ve to see Jason.”
“To confront him about what he’s doing to my sister.”
“Why do you think Jason has a hand in this?”
“Because Kate refused to steal the President’s ring for him and Bill, cause he wants to see Mr. President destroyed.”
“I see.”
“Please do your best to get my sister out of that prison cell,” Gabby pleaded.
“I will.”
“Let me give you this little info if you really need proof to get Bill White, contact old Tom, the old man who claimed Mr. President’s ring was stolen.”
“Good, I’ve something to work with. This is surely the case of the century.”

By the time Gabby arrived at Jason’s place, it was night.
‘Gabby! Nice to see you once again. How’s Kate? Is she enjoying her new haven?’, Jason asked mockingly.
‘How could you be so heartless, Jason? At least for my sake, you didn’t need to go that far’, Gabby said.
‘You think so? That was a deal not a personal favor. After all, that’s how you took it, that’s how you made me understand it. And you know very well that a deal is a deal’, Jason reminded him.
‘So are you happy that my sister is in a prison cell right now?’
‘Honestly, no. But she proved to be very stubborn and that’s what happens to stubborn people.’
‘Please, Jason do something’, Gabby pleaded.
‘It’s not in my hands, Gabby. It’s in the President’s. There’s nothing I can do about it, I’m sorry.’
‘Then I’ll go and tell the truth’, Gabby threatened.
‘What truth?’
‘That you have the ring and that you were behind the tape scandal. I’ll say everything.’
‘You won’t!’
‘Are you daring me? My only sister and family is behind bars right now and you think I’m joking?’
‘Of course not. But you’ll definitely not!’
‘Watch me’, Gabby said and turned to go.
‘That will be unnecessary, Gabby’, Jason said.
When Gabby turned, Jason was holding a gun pointed at him. His eyes widened in shock.
‘You’re not going to do what I think you’re going to do, right?’, Gabby asked, obviously scared.
‘I’m sorry dear old friend, but this ends our road of friendship. It’s rather unfortunate that we have to end like this. Without you, there’s no way for Kate to come out of that miserable cell’, Jason said as he checked inside his gun.
‘There are enough bullets to send you straight to hell where you belong without the need of a visa and a ticket’, Jason said as he pointed the gun at Gabby.
‘Jason, don’t do this. That’s a gun you’re holding.’
‘Yeah, I know that. I’m no illiterate. When you get to hell, tell the devil that I said hi and that he should make special reservations for me that is, if I’ll only come there’, Jason said with a grin.
Before Gabby could say another word, Jason shot him in the chest three times and he fell. Two men rushed in. when they saw Gabby on the floor, they sighed in relief.
‘We thought he shot you, boss.’
‘Take him and dump him somewhere where no one would ever find him’, Jason said and took his cigarette and smoked.
‘Yes, boss’, they answered and took him away.

The two men parked over a bridge and brought Gabby out to throw him into the water when they saw a car fast approaching. They threw him on the ground and drove away fast. The car stopped by Gabby’s body. The lady in the car got down and bent over Gabby’s body and checked his pulses. She sighed in relief.
‘Thank God, he’s alive’, she said happily.

Gabby was rushed to a hospital where he was immediately attended to. He was badly wounded but the medical staff did all they could to save him. It was on the seventh day after his admission that he became conscious. When he opened his eyes, he saw a lady putting a card on the table.
‘Hi’, he said weakly. She turned.
‘You’re conscious now’, she said happily and went over to him.
‘What….what happened?’, he asked.
‘Some men were about to throw you into the water over a bridge when I came around and they left you to your fate and ran away’, she explained.
‘Really?’ Then the memory of Jason pointing a gun at him flashed in his mind.
‘Thanks for saving my life’, he said as he held her hand. She smiled.
‘You’re welcome. Let me call the doctor, I’ll be right back’ She left.
Kate flashed in Gabby’s memory. His heart jumped.
‘Where’s Kate?’, he thought.

The lawyer went to see Kate.
‘How’s is it going?’, Kate asked desperately.
‘I’ve gathered enough information to start the trial’, the lawyer said. ‘Don’t worry, things will work out fine.’
‘Have you heard of Gabby?’
‘Unfortunately not. I’m afraid he might be missing.’
‘Missing? How do you mean missing?’, Kate asked desperately.
‘I’ve made announcements on TV and in the newspapers but no news. Don’t lose hope, we’ll find him.’
‘My God, when was the last time you saw him?’
‘About a week ago, I suppose. He told me he was going to see Jason.’
‘Oh no, I’m doomed! Jason has killed my brother!’
‘Kate, calm down. You can’t be too sure about that.’
‘Of course I can. Jason is capable of that and even more. I got caught up in this mess because of Gabby and now I’ve lost him. I always made Gabby my ultimate priority but I still lost after all I did to save him’, she said, tears forming in her eyes.
‘Gabby is alive. He’s a strong man. He won’t leave you alone in this world’, the lawyer assured her.
‘Gabby, where are you?’, Kate cried.

‘What’s your name?’
‘Gabby, Gabby Campbell.’
‘Gabby Campbell? You’ve been reported missing for some days now’, the lady informed him.
‘Please don’t let anyone know I’m alive. My life is in grave danger’, he pleaded.
‘I can see that. Don’t worry about that’, she said sweetly with a smile.
‘And what’s your name?’
‘I’m Sharon.’
‘Nice name.’
‘Sharon, can I ask you for a little favor?’
‘What is it?’
‘Could you take me somewhere safe where no one can find me?’
‘Mm…..maybe. You could stay at my place.’ she offered.
‘Thank you. When will be discharged?’
‘You want to leave now?’
‘Of course; if enemies get to know I’m alive, they will come after me. Besides, I’ve to help my sister.’
‘What’s wrong with your sister?’
‘She’s Kate Campbell; does the name ring any bell?’
‘Yeah, I’ve heard it quite recently.
‘Yeah, the one accused of being the President’s mistress and a thief.’
‘Yeah, she’s your sister?’
‘The only family I have. Will you help me?’
‘Of course, I will.’
‘Thank you, Sharon.’

Kate’s lawyer went to see Jason.
‘What can I do for you, gentleman?’
‘I’m Kate’s lawyer and…..’
‘Oh Kate! How’s she doing?’
‘She’s fine.’
‘Good, send my regards to her.’
‘I will. You know Gabby, her brother, right?’
‘Of course, we have been close buddies for a long time. Why, any problem?’
‘I assume you’ve been listening to the news and reading the newspapers daily, right?’
‘Why are you asking me that?’
‘Cause he’s been missing for some days now.’
‘Oh really, then I haven’t heard of that.’
‘The last time we spoke, he said he was going to see you and since then, he hasn’t been found.’
‘So what are you insinuating, that I’ve kidnapped Gabby, my very best friend?’
‘No, Sir. I came to ask if he did come here and if he told you where he would be going next.’
‘Yes, he did come here for some personal issues but he left in a rage so probably he got involved in some kind of accident, so check the various hospitals and find out.’
‘How could talk so indifferently about your so-called best friend’s disappearance?’
Jason shrugged.
‘Anyway, I’ll take my leave now.’
‘All right, have a nice day.’
‘I’ll have one’, the lawyer answered and left. Jason chuckled.
‘Sorry Gabby that it had to be like this.’

Sharon took Gabby to her house.
‘Nice place you’ve got’, Gabby complimented.
‘Thanks’, she said as she helped him to sit down.
‘Do you know whether my sister’s trial has begun?’
‘It hasn’t but it will very soon.’
‘I need to let her know I’m fine or she’ll think I’m dead. Can I please use your phone?’
‘Sure’, she said as she gave it to him. He called the lawyer.
‘Hello, Frank; it’s me Gabby.’
‘Gabby, you’re alive! Thank God. How are you doing?’
‘Fine. How’s Kate?’, Gabby asked.
‘She’s okay. She’s having a breakdown right now, thinking you were killed by that Jason guy.’
‘He attempted to. Thank God someone came to my rescue. I’d be floating on the dead sea by now.’
‘He seems dangerous.’
‘He is dangerous, Frank. Tell Kate I’m alive but tell her not to tell anyone else. It’s safer that way. It applies to you too’, Gabby advised.
‘All right, where are you now?’
‘Somewhere safe. If I need to meet you, I’ll call you. Just do all you can to save my sister, all right?’
‘Sure, take care.’
‘Bye’, he said and hung up.
‘What do you plan to do now?’, Sharon asked.
‘A lot’, Gabby replied.

Jason went to see Kate. Kate stood abruptly when she saw him. She held the bars.
‘What do you want, you bastard?’
‘Just came over to see how you were doing.’
‘As if you care when you’re behind all this.’
‘I owe it to your brother. We were best friends, you know.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I think it’s my obligation to see to the welfare of my buddy’s sister. You’re like my sister too, you know. We’re family.’
‘Your wicked soul can never dwell in my family. What have you done to my brother, huh? Have you kidnapped him?’
Jason chuckled.
‘Kidnapped? I can’t do that to Gabby.’
‘Then where is he?’, Kate asked angrily.
‘Well, he came to see me about you, obviously we had a few exchange of words, he threatened me and then I …..’
‘And then what? What did you do to my brother?’, Kate shouted.
‘Calm down, girl. Well, I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t take threats so I …..’
‘You killed him, huh? You killed Gabby?’
‘I’m not really fond of that word Kate; I’d prefer the words ‘shut him up.’ So I shut him up’, Jason said coolly.
‘So you did kill him’, Kate said for confirmation.
‘The most important thing is that, I’m here to take care of you.’
‘Take care of me? How ironic. You definitely want to see me rot in prison, don’t you?’
‘To be honest, I did but now that’s not necessary cause even if you get out of here which I doubt, there’ll be no way for you to get even with me with no one on your side/’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I suppose you have a lawyer.’
‘I don’t need your help, Jason. I do have a lawyer.’
‘I’m sorry about your present condition. You should have obeyed me.’
‘I’d rather rot here than to take your orders, you fool!’
‘Anyway, if I find any information on Gabby’s whereabouts, I’ll let you know’, Jason said and was about to leave when Kate said, ‘If I find out you’re behind Gabby’s disappearance, I’ll never forgive you, Jason.’
‘Is that all? I thought you were going to threaten me. And let me give you this little gist, maybe you’d need it for your defense, I have the real sapphire ring and I suppose you know the one who brought it to me?’
‘Pete, it was that Pete guy, right?’
‘You’re a smart girl. I can’t believe America’s going to lose such an intelligent mind to these miserable prison cells’, Jason mocked with a chuckle and left. Kate broke into uncontrollable tears.
‘Gabby is dead, after everything I did, everything I risked for, I lost him. Gabby has always been my utmost priority, the ultimate priority and I have lost him. I lost David; I lost my job, my freedom, my dignity. God, help me’, Kate cried.

Later, Frank came to see Kate.
‘Kate I’ve got good news for you’, he said happily.
‘What good news will cheer me up when I’ve lost my only brother and being in prison for a wrong I didn’t commit?’
‘I’m here to correct that, young lady. Gabby is alive.’
Kate’s eyes lit up with joy.
‘What, are you sure of what you’re saying?’
‘Yeah, he called me last night and he’s fine. He’s worried about you.’
‘Oh thank God. Where’s he now? What happened to him?’, Kate asked eagerly.
‘I don’t know exactly where but he seems safe; and it’s true, Jason attempted to kill him.’
‘And Jason thinks he’s dead’, Kate said.
‘For his sake, don’t let anyone know especially Jason that Gabby is alive. He’ll secretly help us in your case.’
‘You’ve made my day, you know. Jason will definitely pay for this.’
‘He surely will.’
‘Hey, look at that sweet looking Kennedy guy. Isn’t he hot?’, a lady muttered. Kate turned her attention to the TV. David was being interviewed.
‘Well, the trial will start soon and we hope justice will prevail once more’, David said. Kate recalled the moment she kissed him. Tears began to form in her eyes.
‘What’s your daddy’s opinion on all this?’
‘Well, he’s surprised that his PA whom he trusted so much could steal his precious ring.’
‘What about the allegation about his secret affair with her?’
‘Well, I don’t actually believe it. My father is a well principled man.’
‘There are some rumors going on that, you had something going on with Kate Campbell.’
‘I’m ashamed of falling for a common thief and a potential seductress’; he said indifferently and with a straight face as if he knew Kate would be listening.
‘So do you hate her now?’
‘Honestly I do. I hate her for tarnishing my father’s image and trying to tear my family apart.’
The tears in Kate’s eyes began to flow.
‘It’s okay’, Frank comforted. She was crying now.
‘This is unbelievable’, Kate said to herself.
‘If she’s listening to you right now, what do you have to say to her?’
David looked straight into the camera and said firmly, ‘Kate, wherever you are, I want to assure you that, you’ll pay dearly for this. You’ll regret ever stepping foot in the White House. I hate you, Kate.’
Kate broke into uncontrollable sobs.
‘He hates me now.’
‘It’s okay, stay strong, Kate.’

‘Darling, I don’t think getting Kate detained in the prison is right’, the First Lady said.
‘How do you mean?’
‘I have this feeling that Kate is innocent. I don’t know why. Do you believe she stole the ring?’
‘I don’t really do but we can’t possibly trust anyone right now’, Mr. President said.
‘Let’s release her, darling’, she pleaded.
‘I think there’s someone behind all this who wants to bring you down and she happens to be the bait.’
‘So I should release her?’
‘Yes and let’s investigate this case thoroughly. She might lead us to the real culprits.’
‘Okay, if you say so.’

‘Are you sure you want you want to do this, Mr. President?’, the Attorney General asked.
‘Yes. She made a little confession before her arrest. We might get the real culprits.’
‘All right, if you say so. But first, we need to track down her brother. As you know, we were informed that she gave the ring to her brother.’
‘Do whatever you have to do but I really want Kate out of the cell.’
‘As you wish, Mr. President.’

Later, Kate was brought to the White House and had lunch with the President and his wife.
‘We’re truly sorry for what happened, dear’, the First Lady apologized.
‘It’s okay, ma’am; I understand. It could have been worse’, Kate said.
‘Are you really sure you know who has my ring?’
‘Yes, Mr. President. He’s called Jason.’
‘Jason what?’
‘I don’t know. My brother knows but unfortunately, he’s nowhere to be found.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘The last time my lawyer talked to him, he said he was to see this Jason guy and since then, there has been no trace of him’, Kate explained.
‘You think Jason did something to him?’
‘It’s very possible but I can’t say for sure.’
‘Kate, although I’ve released you, I’d have to give you my prior notice. Get me informed of your whereabouts and events.’
‘Yes, Sir; I’ll do that. Um…..Sir, won’t people talk?’
‘Talk about…..’
‘They would really think I’m really your mistress. It could complicate matters.’
‘Yeah but right is right since God is God. One thing I’ve learnt in this world is that, no matter what you do, people will talk.’
‘But if people talk, it could jeopardize your image. That’s dangerous. After all, I know you still want to stay in office for another term.’
‘That’s true but I have a conscience, Kate.’
‘Thank you, Sir. You’re one of a kind.’
‘How are things between you and David?’, the First Lady asked. Kate sighed.
‘David….hates me now.’
‘Of course he doesn’t, Kate. He’s just confused.’
‘No ma’am. He really hates me. He said it to the whole world. On TV, I mean.’
‘He said that on national TV?’
‘Yes, I watched him doing an interview when I was detained. It’s rather unfortunate but who knows, it might be for the best.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Maybe we were not made for each other’, Kate replied. Mr. President and his wife exchanged a glance.

Later in the evening, Kate tried to call David but couldn’t reach him.
‘He’s probably at the park’, Kate said to herself.
‘I need to talk to him.’

David was at the park as expected, alone, staring at the stars. Kate stood some distance away and looked at him. She recalled the day he had brought her here.
‘Wondering why life has to be this painful?’, Kate asked. David turned to look at her.
‘What are you doing here?’, he asked, looking away.
‘We need to talk, Dave’, she replied as she approached him.
‘We’ve nothing to talk about’, he said and stood.
‘Oh sure we do’, Kate said firmly as he faced her. She folded her arms. David put his hands in his pockets.
‘I was told my dad got you released.’
‘Actually, it was your mum’s idea. I just want to make this clear to you….’
‘That you’ve nothing to do with my dad. I’ve heard that a million times, Kate’, David interrupted.
‘And also, I didn’t steal the ring.’
‘Then who did?’
‘Uh huh, he was also behind that tape scandal.’
‘How are you so sure about that?’
‘Because Jason told me. Jason brought up all mess to punish me for not getting him the ring.’
‘I hear you.’
‘Good. Anyway, I also want to say it was nice knowing you. I wish you all the best in life’, Kate said sincerely and turned to leave. He held her arm.
‘Is that the only reason why you came to talk to me?’, he asked. She faced him.
‘Why, is there supposed to be any other reason?’
They looked into each other’s eyes.
‘Do you still love me?’, he asked softly.
‘Do you?’ they continued looking into each other’s eyes.
‘I listened to your interview the other day and I remember your words clearly and I know you meant what you said and you know what, I feel the same way about you’, Kate said and turned to go.
‘If you also hate me, why did you decide to come and see me?’
She faced him again.
‘Cause I wanted to clear myself so that if maybe we are to meet somewhere in future, we’ll have no ill feeling towards each other and we’ll act as if we’ve never met’, Kate replied.
‘Do you know why I hate you?’, he asked and before Kate knew it, he had seized her and was kissing her passionately. When they broke off, he continued, ‘cause no matter what I do, I can’t stop thinking about you.’
‘And I hate you because you don’t trust me’, Kate added and walked away.

Later, Mr. President was being interviewed on TV.
‘We’re been informed that Miss Kate Campbell has been released.’
‘Yes, I ordered that.’
‘Any reasons why?’
‘Cause I have there’s someone out there setting her up and wanting to destroy me.’
‘Anyone in mind?’
‘Not yet but I’ll surely find out.’
‘Won’t such an action make people think there’s something going on between you two?’
‘Actually it was my wife who convinced me to release her. I also believe in justice and a clean conscience and that’s what I have.’

‘I really love this atmosphere, you know; just as I wanted’, Bill said to Pete.
‘His releasing her seems to confirm the allegation.’
‘Uh huh, I’m going to win this year’s election’, Bill said proudly as he drank his wine.
‘When was the last time you went to see Old Tom?’, Pete asked. Bill turned to look at him.
‘I probably don’t remember.’
‘Cause it has been a hell of a long time, hasn’t it?’
‘What do you want me to do, Pete? The court rejected the appeal. Do you expect me to go visit him monthly and ask him about his welfare like he’s my uncle or what?’
‘My point exactly!’
‘Well, I’ve been busy.’
‘Busy about how to disgrace the President, I suppose.’
‘What has come over you, huh? You know what you stand to gain when I become President.’
‘You know what, that has begun to be an illusion to now’, Pete replied.
‘What?’, Bill asked, amazed.
‘Do you know that Old Tom holds your fate in his fate in his hands? If he decides to talk….’
‘Why are you so scared of that old man, huh? He can’t anything. Don’t worry, I’ll get him released immediately I become President’, Bill said.
‘You might not even see that day. That’s even beside the point. You know he had a son with a brain tumor, right?’
‘Okay, I’ll go and take care of him.’
‘I’m sorry, Bill but I’m afraid it’s rather too late for that. He’s gone.’
‘Gone, gone where?’
‘I think you’ve had too much to drink today. He’s dead, Bill.’
‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.’
‘I hope you are. If he gets to know, he’ll really get mad at you and you know the implication.’
‘Then he mustn’t know.’
‘He will someday. He was his only son!’
‘Fine but now. He should find out after I’ve been sworn into office.’
‘It’s still dangerous. He can still ruin you. He’ll never forgive you.’
‘So what do you want me to do? If he tries anything funny, I’ll just get rid of him.’
‘Bill! That’s extremely outrageous! I don’t think I want an innocent man’s blood on my hands’, Pete said. ‘Besides, the initial plan was yours so end what you started and I’ll watch your back.’
‘Do I take it that, you’re not going to help me?’
‘If it’s about taking that poor man’s life, no but with anything else, I’m willing to help. I might be a bad man, but I’m certainly no murderer’, Pete said firmly and left the office.
‘Pete can’t turn his back on me now, not when I’m almost there, when things are this complicated’, Bill thought.

‘Hello, Kate speaking.’
‘Kate, it’s me, Gabby.’
‘Gabby, where are you? You’ve got me sick worried!’
‘I’m fine. How are you?’
‘I’m okay, but I’ve missed you very much.’
‘I miss you too. I heard you’ve been released.’
‘Yes. We have to prove that Jason is behind all this.’
‘Yeah, I’m working on that.’
‘Where are you staying now?’
‘I can’t tell you. If we need to meet, we will.’
‘Well, I need to see you. I’m really dying to see you.’
‘Okay, I’ll think of something. Take care of yourself, okay?’
‘I will, you too.’
‘There’s a wonderful lady doing that for me.’
‘What, you’re with a woman? I want to meet her!’
‘You’ll see her. She’s Sharon, a nurse. She‘s very nice.’
‘Are you saying I’ll have a sister-in-law very soon?’
‘Nah, don’t get your hopes up, sis. Take care of yourself, okay? I’ll call you again.’
‘You better. Bye, I love you’, she said and hung up.

‘Oh, so Mr. President has got Kate released’, Jason said to himself as he sipped his drink. That’s nice. Maybe we could meet and have a jolly time together in memory of dear old Gabby’, he smiled to herself. His phone rang. He took it.
‘Hello, Jason. Hope you’re doing fine.’
‘Kate? How does it feel to be out of prison?’
‘Refreshing, I must say. We need to talk, Jason.’
‘I was just thinking of that when you called.’
‘Really, you were thinking of me?’ Jason chuckled.
‘Yeah, surprised?’
‘Uh huh. So when are you free?’
‘I’m free on Thursday. Is that fine by you?’
‘Sure. Where do we meet?’
‘Don’t worry about that. I’ll come and pick you up at the airport, all right?’, Jason said.
‘All right, bye, Jason.’
‘Bye, Kate’, Jason said and hung up.
‘Who knows, Kate could be my long awaited life partner’, Jason said to himself and smiled.

‘Sharon, I’m going to see someone’, Gabby said, dressing up.
‘Do you think it’s safe to do so?’
‘I know it’s risky but I need to help exonerate my sister.’
‘Can’t you do that without walking on the streets?’
‘No, I can’t. I need to make this call’, Gabby said as he took his phone and dialed a number.
‘It’s Mr. Daniels from New York City. Is Mr. Peters around?’
‘No, he has an appointment with Mr. White somewhere.’
‘Mr. White, the politician?’
‘Yes, they have some business together.’
‘Oh I see. Thanks for your time. I’ll contact him later.’
‘Yes, Mr. Daniels. Have a nice day.’
‘You too’, Gabby said and hung up.
‘Nice name, Mr. Daniels. Why would a drug lord like Jason have something to do with a politician like Bill White?’
‘Because they have a common interest. Jason wanted to destroy my sister who worked in the White House and Bill wanted to destroy the President’s image so they planned the whole scandal together.’
‘That makes sense’, she commented.
‘If Bill was part of hurting my sister, then he’ll definitely go down with Jason’, Gabby said to himself.

‘Miss Campbell is here to see you, Mr. President.’
‘Let her in.’ She entered.
‘Good day, Sir. Good day, ma’am’, she greeted politely.
‘Good day, Kate. Have a seat.’ She sat.
‘Um….Sir, I’m here to ask permission to leave for Chicago to meet Jason.’
‘That Jason guy?’
David was about to enter but stopped at the sound of Kate’s voice. He stopped to listen.
‘Yes Sir. Maybe he’ll say something which will be to my advantage. I’ll record our conversation.’
‘Isn’t that dangerous?’, the First Lady asked.
‘I know it is but I have to prove to the whole world that I’m neither a gold-digger nor a thief. It’s worth the risk, ma’am’, Kate replied.
‘When do you plan to leave?’
‘Tomorrow morning. I’ll be back when I’m done.’
‘If anything goes wrong, don’t hesitate to let us know.’
‘Yes ma’am. Thanks for your understanding. I’ll take my leave now’, Kate said.
‘All right, take care of yourself, okay?’
‘You too, Sir; I know ma’am will do that for you.’
‘Of course; bye, my dear.’
‘I’ve taken a great liking to her, you know.’
‘Me too, I wish she were my daughter.’

When Kate left the room, she met David.
‘You are running away?’
Kate sighed. ‘I’m not in the mood to exchange words with you’, she answered and started walking away.
‘Who knows, that Jason guy might even be your lover.’
‘That would be much better, you know; it’s so much better and promising than being with an insulting and irritating person like you’, she snapped.
‘I know you still love me’, David said. Kate chuckled.
‘You know that’s an illusion now. You’ll not even be able to imagine it in your dreams. I found my true love when this event happened. I really thank God for taking you out of my life and sending me an angel. I promise to send you our wedding invite as soon as it’s ready’, Kate said and left.
‘That’s not true, Kate. You’re mine and no one’s ever going to take you away from me. Never’, she thought.

Frank called Gabby.
‘Frank, what is it?’
‘Gabby, it’s Kate. She has gone to see Jason in Chicago.’
‘I tried to talk her out of it but she was very obstinate.’
‘You should have called me before she left, Frank. You shouldn’t have allowed her to. Jason could hurt her!’
‘In fact, she said they would spend some wonderful time together.’

Pete went to see Uncle Tom in prison.
‘Hello, Uncle Tom’, Pete said as Uncle Tom sat.
‘Hi Pete.’
‘How are you doing?’
‘I’m coping. Is Mr. White around? Why hasn’t he come to see me?’
‘Um….he’s been very busy lately. That’s why I came alone.’
‘That’s not true. Since I was brought here, he’s been only here twice. He stopped visiting after my appeal was rejected. You’re his savior, you know; if not for you, I’d have exposed him a long time ago. Anyway, how’s my son?’
There was a pause.
‘Is he well?’
‘He’s fine.’
‘Show me his picture to convince me he’s alive.’
‘Um….I forgot’, Pete said flatly.
‘You forgot? Come on, Pete; I told you a thousand times.’
‘I know and I’m sorry. I’ll get you his picture.’
‘You better cause I’m losing my patience with you guys. Tell Bill that I’m not enjoying my stay here so he should start doing something.’
‘But he paid you a whooping amount of five million dollars. That was to cover every cost’, Pete said.
‘Well, all that’s gone to the lawyer who defended me. I have nothing now.’
‘All right, I’ll be on my w ay now. Take care of yourself.’
‘Okay, remember to bring my son’s picture.’
‘I surely will.’
‘No, come to think of it, I want to see him in person. Bring him here.’
Pete’s heart jumped.
‘Excuse me mister, the last time I checked, I wasn’t your errand boy so if you need one, you better get yourself one, all right? Now if you’d excuse me, I’ve got important things to attend to’, Pete said as he wore his dark shades and walked away.
‘Pete, Pete, Pete!’, Uncle Tom called out.

Jason met Kate at the airport and took her to his house. As Kate looked around the living room, she saw some pictures of Jason and Gabby together.
‘Here you are’, Jason said as he gave her a glass of wine.’
‘Thanks. You know, it seems you and Gabby were closer than I thought’, Kate said.
‘Yes, we were till my obsession for that ring tore us apart.’

‘Sometimes, I wished we didn’t meet under the circumstances that we did. You seem like a very gentle nice guy. Why did you choose to live this kind of life?’
‘I don’t know. I’d call it fate. This is my fate.’
‘Which you chose for yourself, Jason. You’re very good looking; you should have been married and settled by now.’
‘That is because I haven’t found my missing rib yet. If it weren’t for my obsessive ambition to have that ring, we could be together today. Gabby would have loved that.’
‘I suppose so. So tell me Jason, do you have the ring?’
‘As I told you before, I always get what I want.’
‘So if you have what you’ve always wanted, why do you want me in prison?’
‘Point of correction, Kate; I don’t want you in prison. The President does’, Jason said.
‘Because you made him believe that I stole the ring.’
‘You were supposed to, weren’t you? If you did, you wouldn’t have ended up the way you did cause I had put everything in place to put the blame on some one else in the White House. But you decided to deceive me by bringing me a duplicate. I must say that was smart. I’ll give you a resounding round of applause’, Jason said and started clapping.
‘Come on, stop it, Jason! I couldn’t make do it because I had too much to lose, I’d go to prison and I’d lose the trust of the Kennedy’s.’, Kate explained.
‘And all that happened though you didn’t do it. They all happened because you disobeyed me, Kate.’
‘You’ve punished me enough, Jason. Now let me go. For the whole world to see me as an opportunist is enough.’
‘You don’t seem to get it, do you? I’m done with you. We’re over, Kate. You now have a case with the President not me’, Jason said.
‘Come to think of it, how did you get Pete to do this dirty job for you?’
‘I found out that Mr. White the politician and I had a common interest. Pete works for Mr. White,’
‘I don’t get it. Mr. White wanted me destroyed?’
‘Of course not. Bill doesn’t have any problem with you. He only wants the President destroyed to become President himself and you were the potential bait. So by putting our heads together, we both achieved our aims. You got disgraced, and the President’s image got tarnished’, Jason said.
‘That was cruel, Jason.’
‘I warned you, Kate’, Jason said softly as he touched her chin. Tears filled her eyes.
‘Let it go, Jason. Please let the President drop this case, I know you have the connections. Besides, I need to find Gabby and start life all over again’, Kate pleaded.
‘I’m sorry, Kate but Gabby’s… more.’ Kate’s eyes widened.
‘What? You……killed him?’, Kate asked, taking in short breaths.
‘He threatened me, Kate and I don’t take threats.’
‘I thought you were joking when you said you shut him up the other day. You took away my only family I have left in this world! You killed your best friend, Jason!’, Kate cried, hitting his chest. Tears were flowing from her eyes.
‘I’m sorry, Kate’, Jason said sincerely as he hugged her.
Kate smiled to herself. I’ve got you, Jason. You’re doomed for life, no escape for you this time, she thought.
‘I’m really sorry. Honestly, I am. I promise to make it up to you. I’ll do my best to make the President drop this case’, Jason assured her.
That won’t be necessary, Kate thought, smiling. She withdrew herself.
‘You’ve been a nightmare in my life Jason. I could forgive you for hurting me the way you did but I can’t forgive you for taking my only brother away from me’, Kate said firmly and left the house.
‘I’m really sorry, Kate; I really am’, Jason said to himself and drank his wine.

When Kate got out of the house, she wiped the tears from her eyes and said, ‘Enough of this drama. You’re going straight to hell; no doubt about that.’

Gabby went to see Uncle Tom in prison.
‘Do I know you, gentleman?’, Old Tom asked.
‘I’m sure you don’t, old Tom, but I do. I’m Gabriel Campbell’, he said and getting up and offering his hand. Old Tom took it and shook it. They both sat.
‘How can I help you, young man?’
‘Well, I hope you’ve heard of Kate Campbell, the lady who has been accused of stealing the President’s sapphire ring and being his mistress.’
Uncle Tom shook his head.
‘That same damn ring that landed me here.’
‘I know Mr. Bill White had a hand in that tape scandal and I know he was the one who pushed you to do what you did. I want you to help me unmask that man to save my sister and yourself’, Gabby said.
‘Mr. White is taking care of my son so I can’t sell him out.’
‘You mean Johnny Jackson?’
‘You know him? Have you seen him recently? Is he fine?’, Uncle Tom asked eagerly.
‘Tom, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I’m afraid your son ….is dead’, Gabby said bluntly.
Those words hit old Tom like bomb.
‘What? That’s not true. Pete was here. He’s said he was fine.’
‘He lied to you, Tom. Johnny died a week ago. Here’s his medical report file’, Gabby said, putting it in front of him. Old Tom’s hands trembled as he opened the file. He screamed when he saw his picture.
‘Isn’t he your son? Now, Pete and Bill have to pay for this and so you need to help me, old Tom.’
‘All right. I’ll tell you everything’, he finally agreed.

Later, Gabby called Kate.
‘Kate, what the hell is wrong with you, huh? Why did you think of meeting Jason?’, Gabby scolded.
‘Thank God you called. I need to see you right now, brother. It’s important’, Kate said, ignoring his rebuke.
‘What is it?’
‘I’ve got our conversation recorded on my phone. He admitted to the theft of the ring, his association with Mr. White about the tape scandal and your assassination.’
‘Really, where are you now?’
‘I’m at your house. Can you make it?’
‘Sure I can. I’ll be there in half an hour. Don’t leave the house, all right?’
‘Okay, take care of yourself. I care.’
Same here’, Gabby said and hung up.

When Gabby came out of a cab in front of his house, Kate rushed to meet him. They hugged each other tightly.
‘I missed you, Kate.’
‘I missed you too, Gabby.’ Gabby kissed her forehead.
A man driving past saw them and stopped. He took off his shades and stared at them for a few moments. He put his shades back on and drove away. They entered the house.
Gabby listened to the recorded conversation.
‘Bingo! This is cool.’
‘Uh huh, everything to send him straight to hell is all here. I just need to deliver this to the President and I’ll be a free woman!’, Kate said happily.
‘Yes and I think it’s time to unmask the real man called Jason.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Jason is a cover up for the hottest criminal Joel Wade’, Gabby revealed.

‘What is the urgent news, Vincent?’
‘Sir, you won’t believe this but I saw Gabby with my own two eyes.’
Jason’s heart jumped. He stood.
‘Yes Sir. I saw him with his sister in front of his house as I was coming here, Sir.’
‘Are you sure? Gabby is supposed to be dead.’
‘I know Sir but he’s not.’
‘This can’t be! You mean, he survived the three shots in his chest?’
‘Probably, Sir.’
‘This must be a joke or something’, Jason muttered. He took the phone.
‘Joe, come over here right now’, he ordered and hung up. He entered.
‘You were the one I sent to throw Gabby’s body in the river, weren’t you?’
‘Yes…yes Sir’, they stammered.
‘And did you do it?’ Joe and Vincent exchanged a quick glance.
‘Yes Sir.’
‘Then how come he’s alive? Or is it his ghost hovering over the surface of the earth seeking vengeance or what?’, Jason asked. He was getting furious.
‘Maybe he got rescued….Sir.’
‘That’s nonsense. Spare me that crap, Joe. All right, maybe you screwed up, but I’m giving you both one last chance to correct your mistake. If you mess up this time, you’ll be the ones thrown into the river!’, Jason threatened.
‘Find him and kill him immediately!’
‘Yes Sir.’
‘Now leave!’ They left.
‘You must die, Gabby; you must die’, Jason said to himself.
The following morning, Kate flew back to D.C. Gabby went back to Sharon’s place. Kate went to see her lawyer.
‘This is what I got.’ After he had listened to it, he was overwhelmed.
‘How did you get him to talk out like this?’, he asked.
‘All I can say that luck was on my side; to leave his house without him touching me is a miracle.’
‘I’ll put it on tape so that we can have copies.’
‘Okay, Frank; finally Jason is going to pay for all he’s done.’
‘Uh huh, justice always prevails, Kate.’
‘Frank, have you heard of Joel Wade?’
‘Joel Wade, the hottest criminal wanted number one on FBI list. Of course I know him. It seems he has disappeared into thin air. I wonder if he’s even alive.’
‘I’ve got good news for you, Frank. You owe Gabby and I for this because you’ll soon be the most proficient lawyer in the United States.’
‘Really, what is it?’
‘The good news is, Jason Peters and Joel Wade are one and same person.’
‘Uh huh, that’s bingo, right?’
‘I can’t believe this!’, Frank said, amazed.

‘I’m sorry Sir, but Gabby can’t be found.’
‘Yes Sir. Maybe he’s hiding somewhere.’
‘Or maybe….I wasn’t sure of whom I saw. He might not be Gabby.’
‘Of course it’s him. I’m not going to prison and I mean it. I need to find Gabby alive or better still, dead. Now get out of my sight, I need to think!’
They left. Jason poured himself a glass of vodka and gulped it down.
‘Of course, I’ve a plan; as usual’, Jason said and smiled.

Pete went to see old Tom again.
‘I know the truth, Pete; I know it now!’
‘What are you talking about? What truth?’
‘That Johnny my son is dead. Am I wrong?’
Pete got startled.
‘You thought I wouldn’t find out? I’m sorry to disappoint you, Pete but I know now.’
‘Who told you that?’
‘Why did you hide it from me, Pete, why?’
‘It’s not true. Johnny’s fine.’
‘If he is, where’s he? Stop lying to me. Gabriel Campbell told me the truth. You and Bill will pay for putting me here and killing my son. You two will hear from me.’
‘Gabriel Campbell?’
‘Yes, the one you framed up with the President and I’ve told him the truth. You and your boss will face justice.’
They stared at each other for a few moments and Pete let the place.

‘Bill, old Tom knows that his son is dead and he has revealed the truth to Gabriel Campbell.’
‘Gabriel Campbell, who’s that?’
‘Kate’s brother; the one we used to destroy the President.’
‘What, let’s inform Jason immediately’, Bill said.

‘What were you trying to tell me over the phone?’, Jason asked as he entered Bill’s office.
‘Kate’s brother is trailing us, Jason. He’s bent on discovering the truth and putting us behind bars!’
‘So it’s true’, Jason said to himself.
‘What’s true?
‘That Gabby is alive.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I thought I had killed him but that bastard managed to survive. Don’t worry; I’ll settle this, okay? Relax, I’ll handle it.’

David was chatting with parents when the phone rang. He took it.
‘Hello, this is the White House.’
‘I’ve seen Kate’s brother with the ring!’
‘Yes, he’s into hiding right now and guess what, Kate knows about it too.’
‘Are you sure of what you’re saying?’
‘Yes Sir.’
‘Who are you?’
‘I can’t tell you for serious reasons.’
‘But…..’ The line went dead.
‘What is it, son?’, the President asked.
‘He said he has seen Kate’s brother with the ring and Kate knows about it.’
‘I don’t believe this’, the First Lady said. ‘I believe there’s someone behind all this.’
‘You really trust her, mum; don’t you? I’d say that’s too dangerous for you’, David said.
‘Yes I do and I wonder why you don’t when you claim you love her.’

‘Yes, I met him in Chicago. He’s into hiding right now because Jason shot him but fortunately he survived. But he doesn’t have the ring, Jason does. I won’t be surprised if he’s the one making all those deceitful calls’, Kate said.
‘Who at all is this Jason guy?’, David asked.
‘The one behind all this scandal, David; but I’ve the evidence that will condemn him instantly.’
‘All right, then. We’ll open this case very soon.’
It should be very, very soon because the more it is delayed, the better the chances of Jason finding my brother and killing him and finding another story to make me look guilty’, Kate said.
Kate was leaving the White House when David called her. She stopped and turned. He approached her.
Um….Kate, I’m really sorry for everything. I apologize for the insults, humiliation and embarrassment. I’m indeed sorry’, David apologized honestly.
‘Are you apologizing because you now believe I’m innocent? Anyway, apology accepted’, Kate said and turned to go but David caught her arm.
‘Kate, we need to talk.’
‘The last time I checked, David, we were over. There’s absolutely nothing to talk about.’
‘But Kate…..’
‘Ands if you’re thinking of reconciliation, then let me make it clear to you that I’m not interested.’
‘But I still love you’, he insisted, softly.
‘Well, I don’t. It was a mistake ever loving you.’
David held her and kissed her. Kate broke free from his grip and slapped him hard on the face.
‘Let me warn you, David; don’t try that again. Now if you’d excuse me, as you can see, I’ve more relevant things to attend to’, she said grimly and walked away.
‘Kate, Kate, Kate, please….. I still love you, Kate!’, David cried out. Kate didn’t turn back.

Jason was alone in his office smoking when his phone rang. He took it.
‘Yeah, Jason speaking.’
‘Just wanted to confirm what you’ve heard. I’m still alive, Jason.’
‘Yes, surprised? Don’t because there are more to come. Let me give you last advice as an old good friend. Do all your jolly time drinking and smoking now cause when you’re grabbed, you won’t have that opportunity anymore. Goodnight, Jason’, Gabby said with a chuckle and hung up.
‘I must find this guy. No matter where he is, I must find Gabby’, Jason said furiously.

Bill went to see old Tom at the prison.
‘Tom, we need to talk.’
‘You finally came. I should have done this earlier. I’ve nothing to talk about with you. I’ve already told the truth to Gabriel.’
‘And you think Gabriel will get you out of here?’
Maybe not, but I’ve nothing to lose now. After all, my only son is dead, isn’t he?’, Uncle Tom said.
‘Listen Tom, you’re not thinking straight. I understand you’re upset but let’s talk about this, okay? We can sort this thing out, please’, Bill said.
‘I might consider that if my son was still alive. You’re the one not thinking straight here, and by telling the truth, I have hope that the President will release me.’
‘You’re not going to turn against me, are you?’
‘I already have, Mr. White. I’ll be testifying in court soon if you care to know.’
‘That won’t happen, Tom. No, as long as I live, that will never happen!’
‘Get realistic, Bill. Your end is here and your future is so predictable; eternal disgrace and life in prison. Isn’t that wonderful?’, Uncle Tom said mockingly.
‘You’ll only testify over my dead body.’
‘So shall it be’, he replied calmly.
Bill glared at Uncle Tom and stormed out of the place. Uncle Tom smiled.

‘You’ve got a letter, Sir’, Vincent said, holding an envelope. He gave it to Jason.
‘Thanks. You can leave now.’ He left. He opened it. It was a court summon to Kate’s trial with him being the prosecuted one.
‘Now, this is the last straw, Kate Campbell’, Jason said to himself.

‘Can you believe that old man reopened the case against me?’, Bill told Pete.
You called for it, Bill. So what so are you going to do now?’
‘I don’t know. He’s very stubborn now. He wouldn’t change his mind.’
‘That’s because Kate Campbell is backing him up!’
‘We need to act out plan B.’
‘Which is?’
‘I don’t know yet. Jason would, anyway.’

‘I can see you too have been summoned’, Jason said.
‘You too?’
‘That bitch, Kate Campbell is causing me sleepless nights lately. We need to stop them.’
‘How?’, Bill asked desperately.
‘Why don’t you bring up an idea, Mr. White? After all, you’re dreaming of being the President. If you cannot even think of a way out of this one, how much more national issues? Or are you planning on making me your special advisor when you become President?’, Jason snapped.
Bill’s face reddened.
‘Listen to me Jason, I didn’t sign on to be insulted, all right?’
‘Please gentlemen, there’s no time for arguments now. We need a solution’, Pete intervened.
‘I’ve got a solution; I always have a solution’, Jason said.
‘Fill us in.’
‘Which benefits me only, I mean’, he added.
‘But Jason….’
‘Listen, Kate is against me not you and I don’t have any problem with that old man, you do. So you better think for yourself cause I don’t have the time to think for you’, Jason said and sipped his drink.
‘But we are connected by that tape scandal.’
‘I know, Bill. Deal with that silly old man whiles I deal with Kate. With that, our problems will be solved.
‘Old Tom is bent on destroying on destroying me, Jason!’
‘Then get rid of him.’
‘What? He’s in prison if you’ve forgotten.’
‘Send him some food, poisoned food I mean.’
‘You know that’s not done, Jason.’
‘All right then. Do it your way; just get rid of him. I’ve own problems to solve, man.’
Kate returned to her apartment in the evening to find the place raided,
‘Oh my God, someone has been here’, she muttered.
The whole place was in a mess. She called Frank.
‘Frank, could you please come over to my place?’
‘Why, is there a problem?’
‘Someone came here. It’s obvious they were looking for something.’
‘Really? I’ll be there in a minute.’
‘Please hurry. I’m scared that’s someone trailing me.’
‘Don’t worry, I’ll be there soon’, Frank said and hung up.

‘I can see your little intruders have no sense of decency’, Frank said as he looked around.
‘But what on earth could they be looking for?’
‘Are any of your things missing?’
‘The truth is, I haven’t checked.’
‘Where are the tapes I brought you?’
Kate rushed to her drawer. They weren’t there.
‘Oh no, it’s gone’, she exclaimed.
‘That’s incredible.’
‘Jason has come for my evidence, his condemnation.’
‘Wait’, Frank said as he found a tape on the floor.
‘No. actually, we need one of them. I divided your conversation into two tapes. The beginning was just pleasantries and the other tape contains the real stuff’, Frank said.
‘Which means…?’
‘Let’s check it first. Let’s hope for the best.’ He played it.
‘So, tell me Jason, do you have it?’
Frank stopped it.
‘Bingo! We have the relevant one. Jason has the pleasantries section’, Frank said happily.
‘I can’t believe this!’

Jason listened to the tape and when it ended, he chuckled.
‘Is this what she wanted to condemn me with? I shouldn’t have bothered my self and wasted my time on this if I knew it contained this trash’, he said to himself.
‘No evidence, no case’, Jason said and puffed out the smoke from his cigarette.

‘Where are you going?’, Sharon asked.
‘To my sister’s place.’
‘Isn’t that risky?’
‘Well, I have to do it. The trial starts tomorrow; I have to be there.’
‘I’m going to miss you, Gabby.’
‘I’ll miss you too, Sharon.’
‘Take care of yourself, will you?’
‘I will and when it’s all over, I’ll come back for you. I owe you my life, you know.’
‘No, you don’t.’
‘Come here’, Gabby said. They hugged each other.
‘Don’t forget me, Gabby.’
‘I won’t. I’ll surely come back for you when my sister is exonerated.’
‘I’ll be waiting. Take care of yourself, all right?’, he said and kissed her forehead.
‘I will. Please do same for me.’

‘Thank God you arrived safely’, Kate said as she hugged her brother.
‘I hope no one has been harassing you lately’, Gabby said as they sat.
‘No but a few days ago, someone broke in here and stole a tape needed for the trial.’
‘Don’t worry; the intruder stole the irrelevant one. Frank divided it into two; the beginning was full of pleasantries which he stole but the important one is here: the one with his confession.’
‘I think it was Jason.’
‘Me too; it’s rather unfortunate that such a good looking smart guy like him would end up in prison.’
‘He deserves it, Kate. You really complimented him; don’t tell him you’ve developed a soft spot for Jason’, Gabby said.
‘Come on Gabby, it’s not like that. When I went to talk to him, he seemed very sincerely sorry about killing you. I believe he’s a good guy, it’s just that he made the wrong choices’, Kate said
‘Are you having second thoughts of condemning him?’
‘Of course not. Anyway, excuse me; I need to go to the bathroom.’
‘Okay, get me a drink when you’re done.’
‘Okay.’ She left. The doorbell rang. Gabby opened the door.
‘I suppose you’re Gabby, her brother, right?’
‘And I suppose you’re David Kennedy.’
‘Yes; is she in?’
‘Yeah, come on in’. He entered. Gabby closed the door.
‘Kate, Kate!’
‘Don’t worry, I’m bringing your drink’, she replied.
‘You’ve got a visitor.’
‘What?’ She came in with a glass of fruit wine.
‘I’ll excuse you two’, Gabby said as he took the glass from Kate and left the room.
‘Um….Kate, I’m here to apologize….’
‘Apology accepted, David. I remember telling you that the other day’, Kate snapped.
‘Fine then. Can we be as we were before?’
‘Oh really, very easy to say, huh? After calling me a whore, Jezebel, Delilah and a gold-digger, you expect me to forget like a bad dream and get back together with you? I’m not cheap, David’, Kate said.
‘I know I really hurt you with my words and actions but to forgive is…..’
‘Just hold it right there, David; don’t let me lose my temper cause I’m not in the mood for it.’
‘Does it mean you haven’t forgiven me?’
‘If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. Besides, a guy from a respectable family like yours shouldn’t mingle with women with Jezebel and Delilah like features, right?’
‘I’m really sorry; I didn’t mean them, Kate. I was frustrated and hurt…’
‘You despicable liar! You know something, I was in a very good mood because my sweet brother just arrived and I can’t afford to lose that.’
‘Listen Kate, I said those things to hate you for betraying my trust but from my heart of hearts, I still loved you.’
‘Yeah right, tell me about it.’
‘Please Kate…’, he pleaded as he knelt down.
‘David, what the hell do you think you’re doing?’
‘I’m on my knees asking you to please take me back.’
‘Take you back? That’s ridiculous. I remember telling you that, I’ve found my true love….’
‘No, no, no’, David said as he got up quickly and held her.
‘I’m your only true love. I can see it in your eyes, my love; I can feel it, Kate. I know our hearts beat for each other. You can’t deny it, Kate.’
‘I promise to make it up to you. The pain of separation is too much for me.’ He touched her face.
‘I love you, Kate. I’ve always loved you and I know you know that too.’
He bent his head towards Kate’s and kissed her. As they continued kissing, he began caressing her. When they paused, David still had his hands on her waist and Kate’s on his cheeks. Their heads were still together.
‘I love you, Kate’, he whispered. He kissed her again.
‘No, no, no’, Kate said as she broke away and turned her back to him.
‘This is not right.’
‘What is not right? Is there another man?’
‘Please don’t confuse me, David. I’ll facing trial tomorrow. Please leave.’
‘David, leave.’ He reluctantly left. Gabby came in.
‘Kate, are you all right?’
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
‘Come here, darling’. Kate went to hug him.
‘I know you still love him.’

‘Tom, I’m begging you, drop this case. I pledge to make it up to you’, Bill pleaded.
‘Will that bring back my son?’
‘Will the making up bring back my son?’
‘About the job, yes. I’ll get you a better one for that matter. But for your son and dignity, you exchanged it for five hundred thousand dollars, old Tom and you know that.’
‘Oh yeah?’
‘Yes, now you better drop this case. Do you want it the easy way or the hard way?’
‘Whichever way you think, I won’t drop this case. I heard you also succeeded in disgracing a young girl….’
‘That’s none of your business because the last time I checked, she was neither your daughter nor your granddaughter. That’s my business!’
‘You’re a despicable monster, Bill. You don’t deserve to walk on the streets. You deserve to be in an isolated wretched dungeon’, Uncle Tom said.
‘You better drop this case if you love your life. At least, that’s all you’ve left now.’
‘It would be a great honor to my name if my death brings about the discovery and the doom of a dangerous criminal like you’, Uncle Tom said.
‘Maybe you forgot that dead men don’t talk. Always remember that’, Bill White said and left.

‘Why are you so nervous?’ Pete asked. Bill gulped his vodka down.
‘That old man is bent on destroying me, Pete. I’ve tried almost everything to make him shut up.’
‘So what are you going to do?’
‘I’m going to travel.’
‘Travel? You’ve been summoned to a trial, Bill.’
‘I won’t allow that half dead old man disgrace me and tarnish the reputation I have. If I go, I’ll be sentenced. Is that what you want?’
‘If you dare, you’ll worsen your case. You’ll be sentenced for life, is that what you want?’
‘I still have a chance to investigate and see if Tom has any close person close to his heart or if he has any dark secret. We could use that…..’
‘Sorry, Bill but his dead son was the only thing close to his heart nor does he have any bad record. I investigated him without your knowledge. His wife is long dead and he has no living relatives. He’s alone in this world now. He has nothing to lose’, Pete informed him.
‘Damn. Such an old man can’t ruin all my plans at the last minute. I can’t allow that!’
‘You brought it upon yourself. I know you could have brought him out with your connections but because you were so self centered, you only cared about what you’d gain if he did what you told him to do. You could have prevented this, you know.’
‘Hey, hey, hey, are you trying to condemn me or what? We went into this together okay, so if I made a mistake, help me correct it.’
‘From the look of things, we can’t correct this mistake but to face the consequence’, Pete said.
‘So you want me in jail?’
‘Don’t forget we’ll be going together. I stole the President’s ring, remember?’
‘Why are you talking as if prison is the best place we can ever be on earth?’
‘I’m just being realistic, Bill.’
‘Then let’s leave this damn country, Pete.’
‘No, Bill. I don’t want to worsen my case. If you do, I’ll help you do that. I’ll get you a plane ticket.’
‘That’s what I want to hear. You’re being a coward, Pete; now that’s unlikely of you.’
Pete chuckled.
‘Are you really sure you want to do this?’
‘You’re getting on my nerves, Pete. Get out of my office!’
‘All right; enjoy the rest of the day’, he said and left.
‘Bastard!’, he said as he drank his vodka.

‘Yes, Mr. Jason Peters asked me to steal the ring or else he’ll turn my brother in for drug peddling which he himself blackmailed him to do so.’
‘Objection my Lord!’
‘Objection overruled.’
‘Thank you, my Lord; but I refused because I didn’t want my brother to be in prison. So I persuaded David Kennedy, his son to make a duplicate for the public display. I later gave him the duplicate but unfortunately, he found out. Then he connived with Pete, Bill White’s right man to come and disguise himself as a bodyguard and steal the ring. Jason confessed everything the last time we met.’
‘Thank you, Miss Campbell. Now, can Mr. Jason Peters to the box?’, Frank said. Kate and Jason exchanged a glance.
‘Mr. Jason Peters, is it true you admitted to all that Kate said?’
‘We just exchanged pleasantries. I’ve evidence of that.’
‘Of what?’
‘Of the conversation. I always prepare myself for any surprise.’
‘Fine, let’s hear it.’ It was played.
‘Mr. Peters, there’s also an evidence of your conversation with Miss Campbell. I wish to play it to the house, my Lord.’
‘Go ahead.’
‘Thank you, my Lord.’ It was played.
Jason was caught off guard. He was completely stunned. There were murmurings.
‘My Lord, I divided the recorded conversation into two; the pleasantries and the main confession. A few days ago, Kate’s place was raided and the pleasantries tape was missing. Now as we have all witnessed, is in the possession of Mr. Jason Peters.’
‘Objection my Lord!’
‘Objection overruled!’
‘That is not true!’, Jason protested.
‘All right, let me prove it to you.’ Frank took Kate’s phone and played the recorded encounter.
‘I rest my case, my Lord.’
‘Is Mr. White around?’ There was silence. Pete stood up.
‘I’m Pete, his right hand man.’
‘Very well, come into the box.’ He did.
‘What do you have to say? Do you have any confessions to make?’
‘I plead guilty, my Lord. I stole the ring. I did create the whole tape scandal.’
‘As his right hand man, is it true that Mr. White asked old Tom to make that outrageous statement about the President’s ring?’
‘Where is he now?’
‘He’s leaving the country at the moment.’
‘Leaving the country when he’s supposed to be present here in court? Cops, call up every traveling agency and order them to stop Mr. White right now!’, the judge said furiously.
‘Yes, my Lord.’
‘I thereby adjourn this case so I’ll pronounce my verdict on both Mr. Jason Peters and Mr. Bill White. I acquit Miss Kate Campbell of all charges.’

Bill boarded the plane and found a place to sit.
‘You’ll pay for this, old Tom for making me leave my own country like an illegal immigrant. All in good time’, he murmured to himself. A cop entered the plane.
‘Mr. Bill White?’, he called out. Bill’s heart jumped. He stood.
‘Yes, any problem?’
‘I’m afraid there is. You’re needed at the FBI headquarters immediately.’
‘But why; I’ve done nothing wrong!’
‘You have the right to remain silent because every word you say could be used against in the court of law.’

‘I can’t believe I’m finally free!’, Kate said happily as she hugged Gabby.
‘Yes, you are. Now that chapter of our lives is closed forever. I’d want you to meet Sharon.’
‘Sharon? Who’s Sharon?”
‘The one who rescued me and kept me in her house. She’s such a wonderful lady.’
‘I can sense some romance here, brother.’
‘Oh really?’, he said as he kissed her forehead.

‘This man persuaded me to claim that the President’s ring was stolen so that he would aid me in taking care of my only son who had a brain tumor’, Uncle Tom said.
‘And did he do that?’
‘No, he abandoned me and my son and now my only son is dead. I did what I did out of desperation, my Lord; out of helplessness!’
‘That’s not enough reason to betray your President and your country. Well, considering the arguments from the defense and the prosecution, I thereby pronounce both Mr. Jason and Mr. Bill White guilty. We’ve also found out that the most wanted criminal of our time, Mr. Joel Wade is the same as Jason Peters. I thereby sentence Joel Wade to fifty years in prison and the same sentence applies to Mr. Bill White for falsely accusing the President. No request for an appeal will be accepted. As for Mr. Pete, he’ll spend twenty years in prison. Old Tom will spend two years in prison for defamation. Case closed!’

‘Sharon, I’m happy to announce to you that, my dearest sister has been acquitted of all charges’, Gabby said.
‘That’s great!’
‘We’ll be coming to Chicago tomorrow and I’ll introduce you to her. I know you’ll love her.’
‘I can’t wait to meet my sister-in-law to be!’, Kate said.
‘I heard that. Can I speak to her?’, Sharon said.
‘Of course’, Gabby said and gave the phone to Kate.
‘Hello Sharon, Gabby has been speaking of you everyday. Thanks for saving his life. We owe you for that.’
‘That’s all right. I can’t wait to meet you too.’
‘Then tomorrow, we’ll definitely meet, God willing. Bye and take care of yourself.’
‘I will bye.’
‘I like her already, Gabby.’
David was alone in his room, thinking.
‘Now that Kate is free, nothing exists to keep us apart. I still love her and I won’t lose her; not again’, he said to himself. His father entered the room.
‘Why are you nervous, son? Is it because of Kate?’
‘Yes dad. She wouldn’t forgive me for what I did to her. I still love her and I don’t want to lose her.’
‘Then go for her. Go for your love, son.’
‘But how, dad? She doesn’t want to talk to me.’
‘Take this’, he said, giving him a box. He opened it.
‘Yes. Give it to her; if she accepts it, she’s yours.’
‘And if she doesn’t?’
‘Well, I’ll admit you were a bit too much harsh on her but let’s not think about that. Goodnight, son’, he said, panting him on the shoulder and left the room.
‘Kate, will you ever forgive me?’

The next morning, David went to Kate’s apartment. He met Frank there.
‘Hello, Frank.’
‘Hi, David. Why are you here?’
‘I’m here to see Kate.’
‘To see Kate, you said? She’s leaving.
‘Leaving, to where?’
‘To Chicago with her brother. She’s going to begin a new life. I’m here to close the apartment.’
‘Do you think she would have left by now?’
‘Probably. But maybe, you could still catch up with her.’
‘All right, thanks Frank’, David said and rushed to the airport.

When he arrived at the airport, he couldn’t find them. He searched from place to place. Finally, he spotted them.
‘Kate, Kate!’ They both turned. He rushed to her.
‘Please don’t leave me, Kate. I’m really sorry for what I did, please’, he pleaded, kneeling down.
‘For goodness’ sake’, she said, embarrassed, ‘what do you think you’re doing, David?’
‘I still love you, Kate and I know you love me too. Please don’t leave me.’
‘I’m sorry David but I have to leave. If it’s God’s will for us to be together, we’ll meet again but for now, let’s just say goodbye’, Kate said.
‘Promise me you’ll come back and that you’ll still love me and keep me in your heart’, He asked desperately, holding her hand.
‘I’m afraid I can’t promise you that, David.’
‘Please take this with you, in memory of me.’
He gave her the box. She opened it. She gasped.
‘The sapphire ring’, she muttered breathlessly.
‘Yes, keep it for me.’
‘You must be crazy, David.’
‘Promise me you’ll come back.’
‘We need to go now, Kate’, Gabby said.
‘Yes. Sorry, I can’t take this, David.’
‘Please do. If you do love me, please keep it.’
‘David….’ He stood.
‘I love you, Kate.’
Tears began to form in her eyes. They hugged each other.
‘I love you too, David’, she whispered. They kissed. When they separated, Gabby said, ‘We need to go, Kate.’
Their hands slowly parted with their eyes fixed on each other.
‘My decision to return or not will depend on my …. Ultimate priority’, she said and left with Gabby.

‘I thought you’d never come, honey’, David said, touching Kate’s face.
‘How could I?


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