Promise and her room-mates sat on the King-size bed playing a game of ludo. It was a Saturday evening; rather than hang out at an eatery or a suya joint, they decided to remain indoors. It had been a busy week for them all, the weekend was a warm comfort to their tired bodies and minds.
“I am so glad that in the next two weeks we will be on vacation,” Bolatito began to dance.
“I am traveling home on the fifteenth of this month, I need to start preparing for Christmas,” Adaeze added.
Kabira hissed, “Both of you are lucky, my school won’t be vacating until the twentieth of this month.”
Bolatito patted her on the back, “Awww. Sorry. That means that you and Promise will have the apartment all to yourself.”
“So? Is that suppossed to console me or what?” Kabira hissed again.
Bolatito opened her mouth, but, the ringtone of Promise’s phone interrupted her line of thoughts. She closed her mouth and concentrated on the game.
“Where is my phone?” She looked around and saw it on the table. She crawled away from the bed and reached out for it. She glanced at the caller I.D, it was Maimuna. She wondered why her colleague was calling. She hoped that it wasn’t work related.
“Hi Promise, evening.”
“Are you coming?”
“Coming?” She wondered what her colleague was talking about, “Coming for what?”
“H.O.D’s wedding anniversary.”
Promise sprang up to her feet. Her room-mates abandoned the ludo game and focused on her.
“Is it today?” Her heart began to race.
“Yes, silly girl. Don’t tell me that you have forgotten.”
She placed a hand on her forehead, she had forgotten. ‘Silly girl!’ She berated herself.
“Hello, are you still there?”
“Yes, yes… I forgot.”
“Really? Okay, the party is at his house. I will text you his address. Make sure you get there on time.”
“I will be there, thanks.”
“You are welcome.”
Once her colleague hung up, she faced her room-mates who were staring at her, wondering what the phone call was all about.
“What?” Kabira picked up a pillow and held it close to her chest.
“Today is my boss’ wedding anniversary and I forgot.”
Adaeze hissed, she had thought it was something important.
“I forgot to buy him a gift. I didn’t even buy a wedding anniversary card.”
“Quit the drama girlfriend, you can always buy him a gift on Monday or whenever,” Adaeze eyed her.
Bolatito frowned at her but decided to ignore her and focused on Promise.
“What am I going to wear?”
“Now you are speaking my language,” Bolatito got off the bed and pushed her towards the wardrobe. Kabira threw the pillow at Adaeze and joined them.
“What is wrong with you?” Adaeze threw the pillow back at Kabira but she dodged it.
“What time is the party?”
Kabira glanced at the wall clock, “It is past six, we are going to be late.”
“You are right, I haven’t taken my bath today,” Bolatito scratched a spot on her thigh.
“Go and take your bath. Do not delay us. We still need to pick what we are going to wear.”
Promise stopped what she was doing and faced them, “Wait, wait, wait, what do you mean by ‘we’?”
Kabira placed her hands on her waist and faced her, “Do you think that we are going to allow you to go to that party alone?”
“A Yellow Tube staff’s wedding anniversary party for that matter,” Bolatito added.
Promise folded her hands across her bossom. Her phone began to vibrate. She looked around for it and saw it on the table. She picked it up, it was a text message. She opened and read it.
Kabira and Bolatito looked at her.
“The party is at my boss’ place and he lives in Maitama.”
Kabira shrugged. The distance was not a problem.
“It doesn’t matter, we will get there. I am going to take my bath,” Bolatito walked out of the room.
Promise sighed, Maitama was far away from Garki. They would arrive at the party late, she hoped no-one will notice their arrival.
“Adaeze, why are you sitting down? Please don’t delay us.”
“Did I tell you that I want to go to the party?” She eyed her room-mate and hissed.
“Whatever,” Kabira pulled out her box. She needed to select a special dress for the party.
Promise stared at all her clothes in the wardrobe. What was she going to wear?
Promise called Maimuna immediately she got to her boss’ residence with her room-mates. The sound of music coming from the compound was very loud. The whole place seemed to be vibrating. Her colleague came out of the house and led them to the table tagged ‘Publication department’. She introduced Promise’s room-mates to their colleagues, Abubakar, Ogbonna and Edet. She also called three service boys who took their others and brought them their food and drinks.
Bolatito pinched Promise’s hand.
“Sorry, just trying to get your attention,” Bolatito winked at her.
“That was painful,” Promise frowned at her.
“I am sorry.”
Kabira tried not to laugh, but she could hardly suppress it. Bolatito could be a pain in the neck when one least expected it.
“Your boss’ house is very big, he must be very wealthy,” Bolatito grinned.
“I doubt if he got this house through his monthly salary, I think he is making extra cash through some other business,” Kabira added.
Bolatito nodded in agreement, “Even though Yellow Tube pays well and all that, he must be earning more money somewhere else.”
Promise shrugged again. She didn’t want to talk about her boss. She doesn’t care where or how he made his money. Her mind was concentrated on the fact that she had not bought him a gift. She hoped he wouldn’t notice. She might try and get him a gift the following week. She hoped she won’t forget again.
Abubakar winked at Kabira, “Do you mind joining me on the dancing floor?”
Her eyes widened with shock. She was surprised at his request. She had noticed the way he looked at her when they arrived, but, she had ignored the thought that he found her attractive.
“Please join me,” Abubakar got to his feet and stretched out a hand. Kabira swallowed hard and took it. His fingers felt warm around hers. They both left the table and joined the crowd on the dancing floor.
Bolatito cleared her throat and hit Promise with her elbow. She pointed a warning finger at her annoying room-mate.
“Kabira has gotten herself a man. Sharp girl,” Bolatito winked at her.
“Nothing is happening, they are just dancing.”
“That is how it always starts.”
Promise ignored her and beckoned to one of the service boys. She ordered another glass of chapman and gave the young man her empty glass.
“That is your fourth glass, too much of sugar is not good for your system.”
“I am just twenty-five. My body can handle it.”
“You are so on your own.”
“I hear you.”
The service boy brought Promise’s drink. She thanked him and picked the glass of chapman from the tray.
“You should try this,” she winked at Bolatito.
“No, thank you. I am watching my weight.”
Promise chuckled and sized her room-mate up. Bolatito was very dark in complexion, but her skin glowed like a ceramic vase. All her expensive body creams and lotions were doing wonders. Her plump figure made her look a little bit shorter than her five feet seven inches height. She wasn’t over-weight, but if she was careless, she could add weight faster than the speed of light.
Suddenly, she felt pressed. She tapped Maimuna on the palm and asked where the restroom was. Her colleague directed her to the guest quarters behind the mansion. Promise left their table and squeezed her way through the crowd. She found the quarters and located the restroom. On her way back, she met her boss.
“Good evening sir, happy anniversary sir,” her heart began to race. She had not expected to meet him tonight.
“Promise, how are you doing?”
“Fine, thank you sir.”
“I hope you are enjoying yourself.”
He sized her up, from hair to shoes. She noticed his intensed gaze and felt uncomfortable. Why was he staring at her as if he had not seen her before?
“You look pretty. Seeing you without your Nysc uniform… You look prettier.”
“Oh… ” She blushed and looked away, “Thank you sir.”
“Enjoy yourself, it’s my party,” he patted her on the shoulder and walked away.
Promised dugged her fingers into her weave-on and tried to scratch her itchy scalp.
“That is so not lady-like.”
She turned and saw Bolatito walking towards her.
“Are you stalking me?”
“No, but you are not the only one who was pressed.”
“Yes,” she reached out for her hand and pulled her along. Promise grumbled all the way to the restroom.
Dark clouds filled the sky. The rumbling sound of thunder made it hard to hear anything else. Promise stood with the crowd at the bus-stop and hoped to get a cab home before it started to rain.
“Corper, that man in that car is calling you,” someone in the crowd tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to a black homer jeep packed a stone throw away from the bus-stop. She wondered who it was. She doesn’t accept lifts from strangers. She debated whether to ignore him or go to see who it was.
Lightning struck and the roaring thunder followed. It began to rain and Promise ran towards the car.
“Get in, where are you heading to?”
Her jaw dropped when she saw her boss, Keshinro, at the driver’s seat.
“Good evening sir.”
She opened the door and got in, “Thank you sir.”
He nodded, “Where are you headed?” He started the car and nosed into the road.
“Home… Garki, Area one.”
“Okay, it’s along my way.”
She relaxed and beamed. She had been saved from two things; been drenched by the rain and spending more money on the inflated cab fare.
“How are you enjoying working for Yellow Tube?” His husky voice cut through her thoughts.
“Well… It is okay.”
“Hmmm… ” His hazel eyes remained on the wet road.
“I hope I will be retained after my service year.”
He smiled, “If you are very determined and hard working, that won’t be a problem.”
Promise nodded and bit at her lower lip. It was her desire to work for a reputable communication company such as Yellow Tube after her service year. She would have the opportunity to travel round the world and see places she had only seen on the television and internet.
‘God, please let them retain me after my service year. I would really like to work at Yellow Tube Communications Company.’ She said a prayer within her.
“You are a beautiful young woman.”
She turned to look at him and met his intensed gaze. Her heart missed a beat, she looked away immediately. ‘Why is he staring at me like that? My God! If looks could kill, I should have been burnt and dead by now.’
“How old are you?” His question interrupted her thoughts.
“I am… ” She glanced at him, his eyes were fixed on the road, “I am twenty-five.”
He smiled, “You are a full grown woman, old enough to make your own decisions,” he met her gaze and winked at her. She looked away again.
‘God please ease the traffic. Let us get home fast! I am not comfortable with the way my boss is staring at me. It is as if, does he find me attractive?’ She shook her head, ‘Even if he does, he isn’t the only man who have noticed how beautiful I am. I don’t want to know the kind of games he thinks he is playing. I am not interested. I just want to go home.’
“Are you okay?”
“Hmmmm… ” She glanced at him. Was he talking to her? What did he say?
“There is a big scowl on your face.”
She came to the realization that she was frowning in an angry way.
“Oh! Sorry sir.”
“What were you thinking about?”
“What is the name of your street?”
She rubbed the window with her palm and discovered that they were close to her place, “It is the street beside the library.”
“Oh! Okay. I can see the library,” he turned the car into the busy lane, “What number?”
Keshinro pulled over in front of a compound with the fence painted brown and cream.
“Thank you sir,” she smiled at him and tried to opened the door, but it was locked.
She sighed and leaned back on the seat.
“I am going to be straight with you. I like you. You are a very beautiful young woman and I will like to take care of you. If you agree to date me, I promise to be faithful and I expect the same from you.”
Promise stared at her boss, shocked beyond words.
“Sir, I … I don’t date married men, I am a born again christian,” she drew her hand bag closer.
Keshinro laughed a bit and placed a hand on her thigh, “I am also a christian.”
She pushed his hand away and glared at him, “Please don’t touch me.”
He sighed and started the car, “I will give you time to think about it. I want you to come with me to Paris for Christmas.”
Promise got out of the car and closed the door. She half ran and half walked into the compound without bidding her boss goodbye.
She found her way to her apartment and knocked. Kabira let her in. She noticed that they had company. Abubakar was seated on the only chair in the room, eating a bowl of semovita with vegetable soup.
“Come and join me,” he beckoned to her.
“No thank you. Enjoy yourselves.”
She wondered if he was dating Kabira. Or were they just friends? That was the least of her problems. What was she going to do about her boss?
‘God, I need you to address this situation. Please get my boss off my back. Please God, please.’