True to her words, she fixed me in, and I was allowed to see the MD with her lovely face on my mind. I had the interview, and it sort of appeared as if I had got a renewed confidence from the few minutes in which she attended to me.
About 30 minutes later I was through with the interview. I came out of the MD’s office but the amiable secretary was nowhere in sight, as her seat was vacant.
I simply could not imagine leaving without having one last look at her, at least to express my gratitude. The time I spent waiting did not seem to matter at all, as I was full of smiles as I watched her approach her table.
“Oh, Mr. Edoho, you’re still around?” she said, with a tone that further gave me confidence. “How did it go?”
Right there, I knew I was hooked by her spell for good! I simply stood speechless, and I guess she must have been quite startled.
“Are you okay, Mr. Edoho?” she asked concernedly.
With all the strength in me, I spoke at last. I could hardly believe myself as the words came out of my mouth.
“Forgive me, Miss.” I said. She had to be single, I assumed.
“But, your hospitality is out of this world that I just can’t help staring at you as one struck by a love bug.”
The instinct blush on her face was evident. For the first time since I had walked in to the office, she had a dumbfounded look on her face. This seemed to urge me on, I smiled reassuringly at her.
“Well, if you don’t mind, could I take you out this weekend?”
“That’s if your schedule would permit,” I added.
“Mr. Edoho…” she began, but I cut her short.
“Michael,” I corrected.
“Please, call me Michael.”
She sighed. “Do you realize this is an office, sir?” she said, but it was a polite tone.
“Of course I do, and that is why I am suggesting an outing at somewhere unofficial during the weekend.” I was a little too surprised at my persistence, I had always thought I was timid.
“Mr. Edoho, I …” she began.
“Michael ,” I corrected again.
She obviously couldn’t hide her amusement and she smiled, exposing immaculate white teeth, I had to comment.
“Your smile, your teeth, where on earth did you get those from?”
She looked at her watch and beat her wrist impatiently.
“This is taking too long, Mr. Edoho and…”
“Michael,” I corrected.
“Fine then,” she said, admitting defeat. “Michael, I’ll see how the weekend schedule’s going to be for me.”
“Good,” I said, heaving a deep sigh of relief.
“I don’t even know your name.” Truth was, I had already seen the name tag on her breast pocket, but I decided it was safe to pretend.
“Lola,” she snapped.
“Michael,” I said, stretching out my right hand.
She shook her head and smiled.
“You’re something, Michael. Now could I resume my job.”
“Of course,” I said. “I’ll contact you.”
That weekend turned out to be the turning point in my life. Before the weekend, I sent Lola a bouquet with a note with details of where I would want her to meet me the next Sunday evening. I did not get her contact, but somehow I believed she would show up and so I went to the proposed venue on the said date. She was right on time and this further increased my admiration of her. I knew I had fallen for her right then.
“I hoped you would come,” I said as I met her in the park, she shrugged.
“No tight schedules this weekend, so I thought I’d consider a persistent brother’s request.”
I smiled. In fact, I wished I could kiss her right there.
“You look stunning.” I commended.
“Thank, Michael. You don’t look bad yourself.”
I smiled to myself. At least, the “Mr. Edoho’ issue was out of the way.
We had a nice time that evening at Whispering Palms after we had chatted all the way as I drove down. By the end of the day, I had decided I was going to spend the rest of my life with Lola or no one else. I got to discover so much more about her and she felt so free to share even her intimate details with me. I did the same and somehow, we felt a bonding. That evening, I kissed her and it turned out to be the first best kiss I had ever had.
The job came through and I resumed in one of the most respected positions in the company as Sales Director. This further strengthened our relationship and less than six months into your relationship, we were altar-bound. She was 23 at the time. Something however bothered me all the while we were going out. She refused to come home with me to see my folks and I really didn’t press her since I knew she would definitely see them before we got married. I had never been so in love before and so I guess I did not see the evil coming.
About a week to the date we agreed to see my parents, she came to my house and told me she wanted us not to go further. She wanted a break-up. She surprisingly gave no reasons, and amidst my pleas, she seemed resolute in her decision. I simply could not understand how she would just break up a seven-month relationship for no just reason. I knew I would never get over the shock.
To worsen matters, she disappeared a few weeks later, as she resigned from work and left her apartment. It was a most unexplainable situation. Right then, I decided to forget all about the opposite sex for good and I had been able to forge on for about sex years without breaking my vow. Now, Patrick my younger brother was about introducing his fiancee and I couldn’t help getting irritated over everyone’s excitement.
As promised, I went to my parents’ home two weeks later and right from the front door, I could smell the excitement in the air and the delicacies cooking in the kitchen. I entered the living room and saw my dad and brother seated on the dining table, having a father-son chat. I was informed that mum and Patrick’s wife-to-be were in the kitchen. I proceeded to the kitchen to greet my mum and my soon-to-be-sister-in-law.
“Oh, you’re here, my son,” mum said as she saw me from the kitchen door way and she proceeded to the living room.
“Yes, mum. Good evening ma, where’s our wife?” I said, smiling and meaning it.
“She’s in the kitchen,” my mum said, winking. She quickly added.
“Your little brother has brought home a jewel, Mike.”
I shrugged and entered the kitchen, to satisfy my curiosity. The jewel? Kudos to Patrick.
She was bent low, picking up plates as she straightened up, I could instantly feel my heart racing. I could not understand why. Her back was turned to me, and as she turned around, the expression of joy at my folks’ hospitality towards her vanished in an instant. My eyes widened in shock as I beheld ‘Lola’, in the flesh!
It had to be a dream. The ceramic plates dropped from her frigid hands and crashed to the floor, shattering into pieces. In a flash, mum. Dad and Patrick rushed into the kitchen.
“What happened?” “Any problem?” “Take it easy o.”
Everyone of them seemed to be talking at the same time. I quickly came to the rescue to remedy the situation.
“Just an accident,! I managed. “I guess our wife was shocked to see me since I came in unnoticed.
“Thank God o,” mum said. “I thought my daughter had injured herself or something.”
“I’m fine, ma,” Lola (or was it Daniella now?) said, forcing on a smile. She was not too bad an actor, I mentally noted.
Patrick hugged his ‘fiancee’ and kissed her cheek affectionately, and deciding Peju, the maid would clear the mess, we all proceeded back into the living room.
Over the few months, I continuously fight the urge to do what my heart wanted to do spill the beans! I was in a dilemma. Could I allow my kid brother mortgage his future by marrying such a ‘callous woman’ or salvage his present happiness by revealing the much loathed secret, and giving him a chance to be happy in future? The next three months practically had me going insane. Lola (or Daniella) managed to write me a letter, apologising for her actions years before and begging me to leave the past in the past by not telling my folks and most especially Patrick, because she loved him very much and would want to marry him.
If truth be told, I do not know what to do now? Should I spill the beans or forever hold my peace?
…to be continued