14 Days: The 1st Day
And the last day; day 1 went like this:
She got to work that morning feisty as all get out. She had made up her mind that she was not going to Obudu with her boss – and that he should do his worst.
But it’s work; her head pointed out.
He just wants to be sleeping with us; her heart argued.
And so it went on till she got to work. The first person she saw was the front-desk person; Shola.
“Oga has travelled. He said to tell you he went with his madam,” Shola said. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
She felt relieved. “Thank you darling,” she said and went into her office.
Toke and Chinedu were there, being really careful around each other. She did not know what to say anymore – so she had hugged each of them and settled in to do some paperwork.
I meet her like that, trying to do some work. But it’s clear that she’s not getting anywhere with it. Her mind keeps drifting – she keeps thinking about her boyfriend. It is as though his going away has evoked some new depth of feeling within herself – as though she just met and the sparks are flying all over again. She picks up her phone to call him…and then she has a rethink. He’s probably busy. A text will do.
So she sends him one, a whimsical smile on her face. She hears a sound in the distance – a sound painfully familiar. But it is impossible; it cannot be sounding that close. So she tells herself it’s her imagination and tries to continue working. Almost immediately he sends a reply and she smiles. They will be fine.
Two weeks will fly by…and they’ll be together again.
“Baby, I need a favor,” Toke suddenly whispers in her ear, making her jump a bit. “What is wrong with you?” she snaps at the girl at her shoulder. She feels contrite instantly, and hugs the girl whispering, “I’m sorry. What do you need?”
Toke sniffs. “I got Chinedu some stuff,” she says quietly, indicating that worthy who is asleep on his table. “And I did not want him to know so I hid them in the store. Could you please? It’s a huge black box…”
“Say no more,” our ‘she’ says, and marches towards the storeroom which is just a small room inset in the back of their office. Chinedu looks up from his table, too quickly for one who is supposed to be asleep, not wanting to miss any of the ensuing drama.
She opens the store door, flicks on the light.
And finds herself face to face with her boyfriend who is supposedly in Abuja.
“Hello beautiful,” he says, sweat dotting his brow.
She does what almost anyone; male or female (forget movies) would do in that situation. She shrieks.
It’s a few minutes after one in the afternoon before the pandemonium settles. By that time, everyone in the office from security guard to cleaner to driver knows who auntie’s boyfriend is. The poor guy has been shaking hands for the past thirty minutes while his girlfriend stands by, shaking her head and beaming proudly. She looks at Chinedu and Toke who are standing to one side, laughing quietly and draws a finger across her throat. I’ll kill you; she mouths in their direction.
“We love you too,” Toke whispers back. Chinedu blows her a kiss.
“So, you were not sent to Abuja at all,” she says accusingly to her man when the dust finally settles.
“Sure I was. I’m supposed to be there now. I just explained things to my partner and he agreed to cover for me till tomorrow.” He smiles down at her. “First flight out. And you’re coming with me.”
“And them?” she asks, indicating the grinning couple. “How did they get in on it?”
“You had been hoarding him from us na,” Chinedu says, casually slipping an arm around Toke’s waist. “So when he called and explained to me, it was a chance to surprise you twice.”
“But how did he get in there?” she asks. “Did you leave the airport immediately I left or…”
“I flew to Abuja…saw my partner and explained things to him. And then I flew right back, connected with him and crashed in his house. Came to the office with him this morning – we came extra-early so we could beat you in,” he ends, grinning happily.
“So that’s why you were dozing!” she accuses Chinedu.
She shakes her head, looking at this boyfriend of hers. I love him; she thinks.
“I love you,” she says, liking the smile that shows up on his face. “I love you too,” he says in response, somewhat automatically yet unlike she’s ever heard it before. Yeah yeah.
“Oya kiss me jo,” she says to him.
And as that kiss is enough for me on Valentine’s Day, I go home jeje to hug my pillow and bottles.
I’m sure you wish her well. I do, no matter what.
Happy Valentine’s Day, young lovers everywhere. Love is beautiful.