Friday night was lonesome I left work earlier than usual partly because I was tired and because the office atmosphere had become uncomfortable. Changing into shorts and a free top I walked around my apartment for the umpteenth time switching on the A.Cs.
Whilst wondering what to fix for dinner I busied myself with my phone, looking for something interesting but my TL was full of tweets by social media publicists full of music download links.
Scrolling further I saw a rather interesting picture of Donjazzy and Rihanna in native attire posing as though it were their traditional wedding. Shaking my head I laughed “Nigerians and Photoshop” I wondered what Rihanna’s reaction to such a picture if she ever saw it would be. Perhaps she would say “What the fuck is this?” laughing to myself I dropped my phone on the kitchen cabinet, took a bottle water from the fridge and walked into the living room.
Switching on the TV I tuned to Telemundo to see what serial was showing. My favorite is Aurorá she had changed her face and was now a Lawyer helping Lorenzo with a court case (assault I think) and she had won the case. That was the last episode I could remember watching.
Tonight, My Heart Beat for Lola was showing I figured they had just started the episode when the rumble in my tummy affirmed my hunger.
Approaching the kitchen I decided to prepare Noodles it seemed ideal and required less effort to prepare. I was in no mood for rice or swallow* and it was already late. Turning on the gas I quickly prepared my noodles dished on a plate with a dash of stew and a piece of meat. I poured myself a glass of wine and settled on the carpet in my living room.
I was already in a comfy spot when my phone rang. I hissed wondering who was disturbing my night of tranquil. On getting to my phone the caller was Titi the light-skinned, petite valuation department intern with a cheerful persona and child-like voice that effortlessly made her a little goddess to the men at work.
I quickly answered “Titi is there a problem?”
“No Esosa” she replied. There was noise at the background suggesting a party was about to begin.
“I just wanted to know of you were going to come in later for office night out. We are already at Elegushi”
“Okay I won’t be joining you guys tonight I don’t feel too well” I replied flatly.
She went on to say sorry, she hopes I got better soon and she would check on me later.
I said my thanks and ended the call.
To be honest I knew about the office night out. It was meant to be a dinner at Ekó Hotel but I guess they changed their mind. The real reason I couldn’t and wouldn’t attend was Ben!
He was a good friend and colleague whose acquaintance I had come to enjoy for over a year. We first met at the Cool café on Etim Iyang. I had just returned from the states on completing my Masters program. I was there to catch up with a childhood friend Tolu we had just gotten back in touch after all those years and decided to have a late breakfast after she cleared up some work at the office that morning. There I was seated over a cup of coffee and croissant wondering why Tolu was taking so long. My calls rang out and at other times her number was unavailable.
I was getting tired of waiting was about to leave when I was startled by a deep voice. I turned to meet a smiling face saying “May I join you?” I nodded in consent and watched as he lowered his tray and took his seat.
I watched him my initial haste to leave the café had left. I just watched as though there was something interesting on his plate or in the way he ate. He must have noticed because he immediately started a conversation in no time I was laughing Tolu’s absence long forgotten. We didn’t exchange contacts and parted as two strangers who had enjoyed each other’s company.
The next time I saw Ben was my first day of work at Brian Cole Company. I was the newly appointed negotiator in charge of foreign acquisitions and mergers. I walked into the boardroom as office routine for formal introduction. Seated there was Ben. I pretended not know him trying to convince myself that he wouldn’t remember me. But I felt his eyes bore my skin as the M.D introduced me and while I gave a brief ‘I’m glad to be here’ speech. He looked more charming than I could remember; his chocolate skin blended well with his with white shirt and pink tie.
As I shook hands with everyone, Ben was the only shake that lingered as if to say I remember you. I had smiled in return. He being the head of valuations made us work together a lot, so he became my friend and boss. A lot of flirting but I always maintained a policy of no office romance. Friendship was a better option.
We worked very well together. His firmness and business acumen is astute. That was the thing I liked most about him. But today was different we had just concluded a meeting with some Lebanese investors wanting to buy-out an Intercontinental restaurant in Nigeria with viable market potential.
I had work tirelessly with my team to do a good job at preparing a going-concern valuation of the business, the market potential and little other financial analysis. I presented this before our management team before it was present to our investors.
Our clients loved the business proposition and a deal was struck. My bonus was sure 🙂 With an euphoric air I went into Ben’s office to my MJ version of the moonwalk and possibly ask him to celebrate later with me.
I came in good time he was in the office staring at the ever busy Etim Iyang street. Music was playing at a low tune at the background. His well built body frame in a blue shirt folded sleeves leaning lazily beside the window frame. I could tell he was lost in thoughts, he hadn’t noticed my entry till I poked him.
“Mr. man snap out of whatever you are thinking of”
I joined him at the window, watching the busy street speaking cheerfully about my victory with the Lebanese.
He laughed, nodded and made his own comments.
I lost track of time and needed to return back to my desk to finish up some work. So I said “Ben I got to go, see you much later thanks for being a sweetheart” I winked at him turning to leave when he pulled me back and held me close. I was shocked, asking with my eyes what was happening.
“Esosa I don’t want to be your sweetheart I want to be the fucking love of your life”
I laughed on impulse “Don’t be silly Ben” I laughed again trying to free myself from his embrace but he held on firmly.
“Esosa this isn’t a joke”
I searched his eyes and knew he was serious.
I nodded in response, he pecked my forehead mumbling something about us stopping the friendship game and starting a relationship. I just stood there frozen. My mind processing all I was hearing. The only thing I said was “Ben you should let me go now, I’ll see you later”
With that I walked out of his office, careful not to miss a step.
P.S: this certainly not the end, I also wonder where this will lead. You can subscribe to this blog to get an update/ connect with @zedtells on twitter to get notified. 😉