Toronto – January 2016
Her new team was a team of four. They all seemed nice, if a little chatty at times. This was her 2nd month with the team and so far she was settling in OK. They tended to have lunch together at least once a week as some sort of team bonding initiative.
Her cousin worked in the bank just opposite her office so they usually left and returned home together. She was finding a daily rhythm that she found comfortable. She loved comfortable and predictable.
As she finished off her egg salad sandwich, she scrolled through her Instagram feed. She saw her sister had put up a picture of mom all decked out in her party gear for a birthday party over the weekend. The caption read ‘when your momma is bae! #pepperdemGang’. Dolapo hit the like button, cleared the table and filled her water bottle.
As she headed back to her desk, she mentally ran through her deliverable for the rest of the day. Her work load was still relatively lighter than the rest of the team given that she was still learning the processes. She got to her desk and froze. Her water bottle dropped with a muffled sound to the carpeted floor.
“What is this?” she asked with something akin to hysteria as she stared at the bouquet of red roses beside her work station.
Joy, her colleague looked up from her computer. Following Dolapo’s gaze to the bouquet, she picked up the flowers with a smile. “This? My boyfriend had them delivered. Isn’t he the sweetest?”
“Your boyfriend.” Dolapo repeated, waiting for her racing heart to slow down.
“Yes. Are you OK?” Joy gaze narrowed as she took in Dolapo’s panicked look.
“I’m fine” Of course he couldn’t reach her here. She was safe, Dolapo thought, as she looked at the offending flowers. “I’m sorry to ask but do you mind not keeping those so close to me? I get sick around red roses.”
“Oh sure! Sorry about that” Joy said, moving them to edge of the desk.
“Thanks.” Dolapo muttered as she waited for her hands to stop trembling.
Lagos – January 2015
“Someone’s in a good mood today.”
Dolapo looked up from reading Jame’s text message to see Joke and her boss looking at her. She hadn’t even realized she’d laughed out loud.
“Must be a message from James.” Joke guessed.
“Must be” her boss concurred. “Is he back from London?”
“Yes. Been back for two weeks now”
“Ahh. No wonder you’ve been glowing.”
Dolapo laughed. ” No denying that it’s good to have him back.”
She had been in a good mood since he came back. He had gotten worried after the January incident but there had been no further incident since then. She was meeting up with him after work for a movie.
As the work day ended, he texted her that he was headed her way to pick her up for their movie date. She cleared her desk and headed to the car park to change her shoes and drop off her laptop. As she approached her car, she noticed a folded piece of paper under her wiper. She picked it up, thinking it was an ad flier. She screamed, dropping it when she unfolded it and saw it was a picture of James with the eyes cut out. She looked around but at that time, it was fairly deserted.
She picked up the picture again. There was a warning scrawled on it.
Lose him Bunny. I don’t like sharing you. J
She hurriedly got in her car and locked the doors. She missed six calls from James before she realized her phone was ringing. She fairly jumped out of the car into his arms when he rapped on her window, still clutching the paper and sobbing hysterically.
“Son of a gun” James swore when he saw the picture. He tucked it in his pocket.
The security guys at the entrance weren’t much help. No, they didn’t see who left the note. No, no outsiders came in, only employees or their drivers had access.
James drove her to the police station to file another report and then drove her home.
She hated the lump of sobbing hysterical mess this lunatic had turned her into.