“Mm hmm… Of course, we’ll get back to you as soon as possible” I said into the phone.
As I dropped the receiver back in its place, a knock was heard at the door. The door was cracked open and Ijeoma’s head popped in before she fully walked into the office.
I don’t think she expected me to be in the office this early. Normally, she arrived at the office before I did and made sure that all the lights, fans and air conditioners were turned on before settling down in her corner.
My uncle made a quick trip to Lagos early this morning and I had to come into the office to collect some documents from him before he left.
“Good morning, sir” Ijeoma said
“Morning” I replied
The room became thick with awkward tension, not as bad as the day of the almost kiss but quite similar. After she walked out of the office that day, I had some time to myself to think about the repercussions of my action.
Not only had I been unethical by trying to kiss her but I had completely ignored the fact that we still had to work closely together and the ‘almost kiss’ would completely affect our work relationship. I also thought about how her said boyfriend would react to the news that was if she told him about it.
I knew how some men could be and I didn’t want Ijeoma to stop working here just because of an action that I made. She was an asset to the company and I could tell she loved working here.
“I truly apolo—“
“I want to addre—“
We both said at the same time.
“You go first” I waved my hand in the air as if to say ‘the floor is yours’.
“Thank you, SIR” she laid emphasis on the ‘sir’.
She cleared her throat. “I just wanted to address what happened the other day… the whole kiss thing. I don’t really know why that happened or almost happened but like I said the other time… I have a boyfriend and a beautiful daughter… things are really wonderful with me and I don’t want anything to mess up what I have going on right now--“
A daughter? She has a daughter?
Looking at Ijeoma, I would never have guessed that she had birthed a child. She didn’t look like it, in fact she looked really young. I let my eyes roam over her body, she didn’t have the usual protruding belly that most Nigerian women developed after birthing children.
A lot of questions circled around in my head like ‘was it her boyfriend’s child?’, ‘how old is her daughter?’ and more along those lines. I was really surprised by that information but I didn’t let it show on my face.
“—with that said, I would kindly suggest that we keep the relationship between us strictly professional” she concluded in a firm tone.
I must have zoned out after she said she had a daughter, so I missed out half of what she said.
“I completely understand” I nodded as I sat upright in my chair. “I sincerely apologize for that… I crossed a line”
An awkward silence followed next and her eyes roamed around the room avoiding me. The whirling sound of the fan and the low hum of the air conditioner were the only sounds that filled the room.
“Uhm… I’ll just… head back” she pointed to the door.
“Sure” I nodded
With that, she walked out closing the door gently behind her. I leaned back on my swivel chair and did a little spin so that I was facing the wall behind me.
Shit. I completely obliterated any chances at a platonic friendship with her
Our future conversations for the next few days are no doubt going to be awkward and tension filled. It was a good thing that Chioma called yesterday to let me know she would be returning to work the day after tomorrow. Her return would ease up on the number of times, Ijeoma and I would encounter each other.
“Hey, my love” Noah said as he stepped into my room.
“Hi” I looked up from the book I was reading
My exams were approaching and I was trying to prepare for it with every spare time I had. I was currently on my bed, my bum was getting numb from sitting at my reading desk for so long.
Noah walked over to me and placed a peck on my cheeks. “How did it go at work?”
“Fine actually… I let him know that I’m happy in my relationship and that I would like to keep out interactions strictly professional” I replied
“Good” he nodded
He looked down at the books spread out on my bed. “What are you reading?”
“Economics” I sighed as I flipped the book over to show him. “I hate the fact that I have to read this all over again”
“It’s just for a short period” he rubbed my back as a form of comfort.
I muttered something unintelligible and pouted like a child.
He chuckled. “I’ll leave you to study”
As he turned around to leave, a mischievous plan formed in my head. What’s going on with me these days?
“Nataniele, could you pass me that pamphlet on my desk?”
He halted in his tracks for some seconds as if wondering if he heard right. A sly smile appeared on my lips but I quickly masked it when he turned around.
“What did you say?” he asked with raised eyebrows.
“Pass me the pamphlet?” I feigned ignorance.
“No, before that” he made a backward movement in the air with his finger.
“What are you talking about?” I furrowed my eyebrows. “Can you pass me pamphlet, please?”
His eyes turned to slits as he scanned my face for any form of mischief.
“Noah! The pamphlet, please?” I said
He walked over to my reading table and I watched him lift all the books on the table, stifling my laughter.
He turned around. “There’s no pamph—“
I burst out laughing.
He set out to grab me but I quickly scrammed to the other side of the bed. He began to chase me around the room, I felt like he wanted me to keep running because he could have easily caught me if he wanted.
He wrapped his arm around me from behind and did a little spin while I squealed my lungs out. You that electric feeling that passes over you when you’re caught in a hide and seek game, I felt that, even though I knew he was going to.
I turned to face him, laughing my head off. My laughter faltered as I saw the dark look in his eyes as he watched me. He gently caressed the side of my face with the pad of his thumb as his eyes traced every curve on my face before stopping at my lips.
The air in the room suddenly became heated. Noah slowly dipped his head down placing it on mine, allowing our breaths to mix. My chest heaved with anticipation, it wasn’t long before he put us both out of our misery and claimed my lips.
He lifted me off the ground with my legs wrapped around his waist and gently placed me on the bed. His right arm was placed a couple inches above my head carrying his weight in order not to crush me underneath him.
The kiss was quickly escalating to something further. I felt Noah’s hand move from the side of my face and travel down my body heading for my nether regions. As turned on as I was right now, I couldn’t stop the horrid flashes of images from my memory that I had tried so hard to tuck away forever.
On impulse, I reached out and held his hands from moving any further. “Can we slow down, please?”
Breathing heavily, Noah’s eyes tore open. “Yeah… of course”
He toppled over to the other side and faced the ceiling. I looked at him and searched his face for any signs of disappointment but it was blank. A deafening silence ensued and the rhythmical sound of our breathing was the only audible sound.
“I’m sorry” I said in a low tone.
He turned to his side and faced me. “No, don’t apologize. You have the right to stop me if you don’t want to go further. You know that right?”
There was a lot I wanted to say at this moment but instead I just nodded.
He leaned over and placed a kiss on my forehead before pulling me close to him so that my head was resting on his chest. A tear escaped from the corner of my eyes and I quickly wiped it away before it could make its way down my face.
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