November 13th 2012.
It was one of those days. When I awoke in the morning, I wasn’t feeling refreshed. In fact, I felt like I hadn’t slept a wink all night even though I had blacked out the moment my body hit the bed. My routine at work had been so crazy for the past two to three weeks. Deadlines, management meetings, team meetings, project supervision and the rest. I had no time to do any other thing at all because by the time I got home, I was dead tired to the bone.
Christy’s schedule seemed to be as hectic as mine as well as we had barely seen each other in almost a week but the calls were a constant and seemed to increase in intensity. She explained that her bank was in the process of an acquisition so everyone had to be on their toes and work their butts off especially as the management had taken to firing staffs it deemed incompetent on a whim. It would be terrible to get laid off at a time like this when the economy was still grappling with post recession challenges, especially with the current rate of unemployment. She never failed to regale me with tales of the growing animosity between herself and Kemi at the office. It had now become part of “office gist” with some colleagues already taking sides.
I really didn’t know what to make of all this at first and inasmuch as I was dying to put an end to this foolishness, I couldn’t make the mistake of being seen with Kemi or provide her with an opportunity that would put us together asides from chance. My wariness turned to some form paranoia. After taking some time to mull it over, I realized her intentions were crystal clear now; she wanted to ruin what I had with Christy.
I had to explain myself to Tunde after the misunderstanding at his reception that nearly led to a drama scene. Especially as I thought it prudent to make myself scarce at the wedding after-party knowing the orchestrator of the drama was going to be there and there was no telling what would happen. Christy was in no mood to go anywhere near where Kemi would be either after the highly embarrassing episode so we just curled up together in bed for the rest of the day and watched movies after several bouts of intense love making.
He was quite cross with me for not even showing up and switching off my phone but when I explained everything to him, I thought his jaw was going to drop. He gave me this look like I was irredeemable but he understood my predicament and advised me to get my act together. I listened respectfully as he now spoke from a superior moral ground…the moral ground of a married man. Well, he was now somewhere in France with his wife on their honeymoon. His last post on facebook was a picture of him and Amaka dressed as Parisian chefs at E. Dehillerin French Kitchen.
I shook off these thoughts and got down to business. My desk was piled with numerous reports I was yet to vet. I had just concluded an appointment scheduled with a client and would soon be out of my desk again for the never ending management meetings with the accounts department. The end of year was here and there was always the early rush to regularize the company books before the end of the fiscal year. I had been alone for a little over twenty minutes going through reports when Malik Ibrahim burst in my office without knocking – in his usual manner.
“Guess who just entered the building.” He panted excitedly.
“Malik, I’m busy now abeg. Look at my desk.” I pleaded, pointing at the stacks of files on my desk. “I’ve got too much to do.”
“Guess.” He continued, ignoring me totally.
I sat back and studied him. I hadn’t seen him this animated in a long while. It had to be serious.
“Goodluck Jonathan?” I asked.
He made a face showing how far off the mark I was. I was about to make a second attempt but he couldn’t hold himself back anymore.
“The Iron Lady is back!” He blurted out.
I swear I wasn’t expecting to hear that so unconsciously, my face gave off an expression that made Malik roar in laughter. As if on cue, four other colleagues barged into my office all at once making similar announcements.
“Madam Nike is back o!” they echoed and laughed.
I leaned back on my seat, amazed at the occurrence that made five colleagues barge into my private space and I shook my head ruefully. Papa Grand, the janitor had done his work well. He must have told a beautiful story of what he had stumbled into a couple of months ago. (To refresh your memory, check out episode three of my memoirs). When they saw I didn’t have a witty retort as I usually did, they filed out of my office one after the other. Only Malik remained.
“You have nothing to say. That’s a first!” Malik exclaimed.
“Wait, you guys want me to lose my job abi?” I asked. “The way you all barged in here to inform me as if I should be interested. If oga hears this…”
“You think he doesn’t know? Wake up man, oga never misses a thing. Especially after the confrontation you had with Nike.” Malik said, cutting me off.
“Serious?!” I asked, shocked.
“Yes now.” Maliks said, very sure of himself.
“Ok. I’ve heard you. Can I get back to work now?” I asked but there was a sudden commotion outside my half open door and before Malik could respond, as I live and breathe, Nike – the Iron Lady as she was called, appeared at my door. Malik stood up immediately, mumbled a reminder about a meeting, said a nervous greeting to Nike and shuffled out of my office, shutting the door gently behind him. Nike stood there, by the door and gave me a smile.
Now, I must confess I was mildly grateful that my colleagues had warned me about her arrival. However, it still didn’t prepare me for the fresh loveliness I saw in her. She was dressed in a trouser suit that accentuated her nice figure as usual. Her skin glowed and her eyes twinkled. She looked happy, well kept and as sexy as hell. All thoughts of work and Kemi’s wahala evaporated into thin air.
“Mickey, Mickey.” She said, her smile expanding.
“Nike.” I said rising from my seat. She came closer and extended her hand which I took. Soft and sweaty. I offered the seat opposite me and sat back down.
“Quite a surprise. I didn’t know you were in the country.” I said.
“You certainly don’t look surprised.” She replied and I laughed.
“I just came in last night. End of year rush. You know how it is.” She continued. I nodded.
“So, how are you? You look well. I guess Nairobi agrees with you.” I said appraising her lustfully, an appraisal she seemed to appreciate.
“Its a beautiful place but still, there’s no place like home.” She said. “You don’t look so bad yourself.”
“Its the stress. Mad rush to keep up with schedules and all.” I said shrugging. I had noticed black circles around my eyes some days ago. A clear indication that I wasn’t sleeping well. Besides, I wasn’t feeling myself usual boisterous self. There was an awkward silence between us. Her perfume, that same perfume had commandeered the chilled atmosphere in my office and flashes of our encounter came flooding through my subconscious.
“I see you’re not yet married.” She said suddenly.
“Err…not yet.” I said smiling. “You?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Kenyan men are fun but not my type.” She said brusquely.
“Oh.” I said, nodding.
“Yeah.” She replied. It was apparent we were both trying to be civil when what we really wanted to do was to reach out for each other and play out a sequel. After, a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, she rose.
“I have to see the director. I just wanted to say hi.” She said. I rose up too.
“It is much appreciated.” We shook hands again. “Perhaps we could hangout…after all the craziness?”
Her face lit up. “I’d love that.” Our hands were still together and a sudden surge of current coursed through my blood. I left my table, still holding her hand and she came to me and our lips locked together, all civility forgotten. Her body felt fuller than the last time as I squeezed and squeezed. She moaned, and murmured in my ear how she missed me. I drew back momentarily but she pulled me back to her.
“You don’t want to keep the director waiting.” I said, as she smothered my cheeks with kisses. She pulled away finally, holding my hands still. She looked at me with a soft smile on her face I found rather surprising. Without a word, she turned and made a few adjustments on the mirror that hung on the wall in my office before she left.
I sat back down on my chair and wondered why I was such a slave to my passion. I had already lost this battle, I thought miserably. After wallowing in self pity for a few minutes, I got up and faced the mirror and made sure there was no trace of Nike on me when the phone on my desk rang.
“Good morning sir. Its Florence from the front desk. There is a Miss Kemi Odutayo here to see you.”
What the hell???!!!
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