By:  Lily John and John Izuchukwu  Completed
Language: English
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Anuri returns from prison broken; a victim of betrayal, a victim of injustice. Trust was nearly obliterated from her memory. But she must move on, no matter how hard her heart was frozen. Then, Jerome comes along and threatens to upset the walls she had built to protect herself. How does she cope with the alien feelings that assail her?

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25 Chapters
Anuri arrived her hometown around six  o'clock in the evening. In her hand was a black leather suitcase, which bore her clothes, clothes she had not worn for the past four years. Four years of hunger, of pain, and distress. Four years of severe suffering. Yes, Anuri had known suffering, her hair was cut low, her very fair complexion toned down considerably and she was emaciated.  Four years ago, Anuri was a raving beauty but the events of the past years had undermined her beauty. Presently, she wore a navy blue formal suit, which, were a bit oversized as she had lost weight considerably. Anuri, a graduate of Secretarial Studies from a Nigerian Polytechnic was twenty-four years old when she got an invitation from her cyber friend, Mrs. Stonehill, an elderly Briton to come to England for a vacation. She had been exhilarated at the prospect and had rejoiced greatly. Mrs. Stonehill had sent her the wherewithal for the journey so all she had to do was to o
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Chapter TwoAnuri decided to make the best of her life. True, her friend's betrayal had made her wary of many people. But she counselled herself to be free minded and not paranoid. She just had to be more careful with people. She went through her secretarial books and attached herself to a business center in the village where she brushed her computer skills. She nurtured the hope of getting a secretarial job in a flourishing firm soonest.  Six weeks after her return, Pa Joshua's first son, James offered to assist Anuri. He told her to join him and his family at their Aba residence. He promised to help her find a job. She was happy at this offer and was willing to leave. It would be better for her. She remembered James' wife and her heart almost stilled. James' wife, Ogadinma was not a hospitable woman. She knew from experience. Infact, the woman disliked associating with her husband's relatives for reasons best known to her. Anuri wondered if it was advisable
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Chapter ThreeIt was Sunday evening. Anuri sat in the living room watching a Nigerian movie. Suddenly, Christopher who was there with her turned to her. Hesitatingly, he began, 'excuse me, aunty.’ 'Mmh?’ 'There's something aunty Ogadinma said that has been bothering me.’ 'What is it?' She frowned slightly. 'Is it about me?’ 'Yes.'  'Yes, go on,' she urged him. 'She said that you might have HIV.’ Anuri was shocked. 'Wh-what did you say? Goodness gracious me,' she gasped in hurt, her hazel eyes darkening with emotions. 'She said that?’ 'Yes.’ She shook her head. 'How could she?…' Her voice trailed off. 'She said that most people who come back from the prison have HIV. That is why she does not let you help in cooking.’ Anuri stared into space, her eyes becoming misty. 'Dear me…' This
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In high spirits, Anuri arrived her workplace. It was Monday morning, the last week of May. She looked beautiful and poised in her white linen suit. She exchanged greetings with some of her colleagues and chatted lightly for a few minutes; then she left for her office. An official envelop on her desk caught her attention. Frowning slightly, she picked it up. She recognized her boss' handwriting on it, which bore her name. Anuri wondered the portent of this. Her heart began to pound with apprehension. With slightly trembling hands, she opened the envelop and pulled out the letter. It was hand written.  Miss Uchechi, I inform you formally, to stop work this morning, not later than 10:00am owing to the new revelation I received about you. Your services will no longer be needed in this firm. Realizing that you are an ex-convict of drug trafficking, which you concealed perfectly, I can no longer trust you as my secretary. Collect your salary from the bursary and leav
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The weather this morning was cool and invigorating. It had rained heavily the previous night. Even the morning sun was reluctant to come up, still bleary eyed with cold. It was Monday, 1st of July. Anuri arrived Golding Cosmetics Limited, slightly breathless with anticipation. She was clad in a turquoise suit of beautiful design. Her black shoes accentuated the elegance of her legs and her hair fixed in Yaki was artistic and beautiful. A pair of golden earrings adorned her ears and her make up was moderate. She was formal and poised, quite beautiful. She reported to the personnel department and was led by one of the officers, Mr. Ndukaku to the managing Director's section of the company. He stopped at the door stenciled: The Secretary. He unlocked it and pushed it open. Stepping in he said, 'here is your office, Anuri. Hope you'll like it.’ Anuri moved in. She gazed round the neat, well furnished office while the other opened the sliding windows. This
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Anuri worked hard and efficiently throughout the next three weeks. She really impressed her boss and many clients of the company were endeared to her.Anuri stepped into the accounts department, heading for the manager's office. He was a man in his early fifties. She met him talking with someone. 'Excuse me briefly,' he told his guest. 'Hello, Anuri.’She smiled. 'Good morning, sir. I have come for those documents.’He snapped his fingers. 'Oh, yes, they are here.' He pulled out his drawer and offered a file containing papers to her. 'The other report, I'll send to him myself.' 'Alright.' She received it and left the office. She went downstairs, humming a song to herself. Suddenly, her right foot slipped off the step. 'Aw… ' It all happened in a split of a second. Anuri fell, hitting her ankle, waist and elbow on the staircase. Pain registered in her brain and travelled backwards, spreading her nerves with great intensity. 'Aw&
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Anuri visited James and his family on Sunday evening. His children were very glad to see her. She gave them a bag bearing some provisions and some books. As usual James' wife was aloof to her. She had not changed. Anuri did not let that demoralize her. She had a good chat with James before taking her leave.Back at home, Anuri found herself longing to be with Jerome and his children. She wondered what they were doing at that particular moment. Was he thinking of her now? Was it wise to have refused his date? She could not tell. Betrayal had made her too wary of  almost everything.On Monday morning, Anuri arrived at work feeling calm. She was dressed in a black suit beautifully designed and the dark colour contrasted beautifully with her complexion. Jerome was already at his desk. When it struck eight o'clock, she reported to his office. He was going through some files.‘Good morning sir.'Jerome looked up. Their eyes met. He smiled, his eyes appraisin
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Daddy! Daddy! Welcome, daddy!' Jerome's children chanted as he drove into his compound the next day. It was around 5:10pm. The children were at the verandah with Mrs. Onyenso and another boy of fourteen years. They jumped up and down excitedly as they drove in. It was drizzling with rain, so the children could not run out. Moreover, Jerome had warned them not to run towards a moving vehicle for whatever reason. A friend of his had nearly killed his kid who had run out excitedly to greet him. The child had come in the way before he could swerve. Luckily, the child had not died but he was injured. That had made Jerome warn his kids seriously against such excitement and they are obeying him.Anuri looked at him as the car came to a halt. 'Umu gi alola.’'Yes,' he breathed, resting his head on the seat base with his eyes closed. He looked tired, she thought, feeling the impulse to touch his cheek and massage his neck. She collected her thoughts, willing the thoughts away
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A knock sounded at the door. Leaving the textbook she was studying, Anuri stood to answer the call. It was Jerome. ‘Hello,' she greeted lightly, stepping back. ‘Hi.' He patted her cheek. He was his usual handsome self, clad in a short-sleeved white shirt over a pair of black trousers. 'I will not sit down, Anuri. My mother and two of my sisters are around. I want you to come and meet them.' His eyes met hers. 'Oh…' She nodded slowly. 'I heard a car drive in. I didn't know it was them.' She looked at her dress.He took her hand. 'I mara mma. Come on, let's go. They are waiting.''They know you came to call me?''Yes, they do.'Together, they left her apartment. Jerome took the back door into his house. She was silent as he led her through the kitchen corridor towards the living room. There was a hush as they came in and then silence. Anuri gazed at Jerome's family for the first time, feeling pleased and sel
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On Thursday evening, the following week, Jerome came to see how Anuri was spending the evening. It was two hours since they came back from work and he desired her company. He found her in the living room, relaxed on the settee, holding a book. She looked up as he came in. 'Hello,' she smiled warmly.'Hello, how are doing?' He sat down beside her, gazing at her fondly.‘I’m fine… And you? Have you eaten?' She touched his cheek gently. I have.' He patted her hand  'Were you reading?' 'I was about to.' She returned her attention to her book. 'What's the name of the book?’ 'It's a collection of short stories entitled 'A Battle of will'.'  'A Battle of Will,' he repeated, taking the book from her. 'Have you read it before?’ 'I have, it's very interesting.' She said enthusiastically. 'Really?’ 'Very Much.’ 'Mmh, can you rea
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