A/N: Hey guys, how’s it going? I hope you are all safe and healthy, especially my Nigerian people. I was going to write and drop this chapter yesterday but I couldn’t. It’s hard to focus on writing with the uproar that’s taking place in Nigeria.
“Is that what you’re wearing to the office thing?” Noah asked through the phone.
“Yeah” I did a slow twirl, giving him a complete view of my dress.
It was a shimmering, off-the-shoulder cream dress that stopped exactly on my knees. Noah had actually gotten the dress for me, he claimed that he was just browsing on Instagram when he saw the dress. ‘I thought it would look amazing on you’ were his words when he gave it to me.
Noah and I were on a video call. I had the phone placed on my dressing table with a book wedged behind it to keep it upright. I already had my hair and make-up done before Noah called, so he was getting the complete look.
“You look really beautiful” he said
“Thank you” I replied as I put on my earrings.
“So I’ll see you there, right?” I said
“Yeah, of course. I’ll head over there once I’m done with my last patient” he replied.
“Kay. I’ve got to go now” I picked up the phone so that my face was the only in the frame.
“God...” he gave me an intense look.
“I’m definitely going to fight a lot guys off you, this evening” he stated as a matter of fact.
I blushed slightly. “Stop”
“Bye” I said before I hung up.
The bell rang just in time as I was making my way down the stairs. I headed straight for the front door and I opened it to see our babysitter, Gift.
“Good evening, ma” she greeted as I let her in.
“Evening, dear” I shut the door gently before turning to face her. “Thank you so much for agreeing to come in again today”
Today was Friday so she had been here earlier this afternoon. Gift was such an angel, she was like a second junior sister to me. She was outspoken and quite bold but she was utterly respectful as well.
She was a couple of inches shorter than me, pretty faced, smooth skinned with a small beauty mark just above her upper lips. She was dressed in a pink shirt and three quarter jean shorts with her dreads packed in a neat bun.
“It’s no problem. I like spending time with Zozo” she waved her hands in front of her. “Besides, I get to use your Wi-Fi till you get back”
I gave her a genuine smile.
Gift’s house wasn’t too far away from ours and her parents were somewhat friendly with us, so it was almost like paying a family friend to watch over Zozo. Her parents supported her want to be independent and allowed her to babysit for us. I had called her mother beforehand and she was fine with Gift coming over to watch Zozo this late as long as we brought her back safely.
“You’re looking takeaway. Ah ahn, kill dem all” she praised as she ran her eyes over my dress.
I chuckled. “Thank you”
A loud horn was heard outside the house. I pulled the curtains back and looked outside the window to see a red Camry.
“I think that’s my ride” I announced. “Let me grab my purse and bring Zozo down for you”
“Okay” she walked over to one of the sofas and sat down.
A minute later, I returned with a matching cream purse in one hand and Zozo’s hand in the other. Once Zozo sighted Gift she ran over to her and gave her a hug.
“Don’t open the door for anybody at all, no matter what. Call me or Noah if you need to, you have both our numbers. There are snacks in the fridge if you guys get hungry. Remember don’t hesitate to call me for anything, anything at all” I rambled
“I know... you’re going to be late” she chuckled
I smiled. “I’ll see you guys soon”
They waved me goodbye as I walked out of the house. I waited for Gift to close the front door before I got into the car.
“Small office party, my foot” I muttered under my breath
I walked into the huge hall that was rented to for the office party. It was beautifully decorated. White and gold sashes were carefully draped over chairs, tables and even creatively made into designs that were pinned to the walls. A DJ was skillfully merging and remixing songs on his laptop at the forefront of the hall.
There were a ton of people present in the hall and I was definitely sure that I didn’t know half of the people here. They were probably Mr. Emenike’s friends and business contacts. I moved over to a corner of the hall and stood as my eyes searched for Chioma or someone I knew.
Mr. Emenike decided to throw a party in regards to the megamall contract. The past few weeks had been used to negotiate terms and conditions that worked for both parties. Yesterday, a contract between both parties was signed making it official that the contract had been awarded to our company.
We were told that it would be a small office party and that we could invite a person or two but from the looks of it, people brought their whole nuclear and extended families along.
I began to feel like my dress was the wrong choice of clothing. It started to feel like the dress would be a better fit for a club or a rich person’s house party.
I was too busy turning myself into a nervous wreck that I didn’t notice Nkechi, Mr. Emenike’s secretary walk up to me.
“I.J” she called out.
“Hey, how far?”
We hugged as a form of greetings. As we pulled apart, her eyes fixated on my dress.
“This your dress no be here ooo” she said
“Is it bad?” I asked
“Bad keh? It’s very beautiful”
“Ohh, thank you” I placed my hand on my chest. “I thought it was appropriate for this event
“No oo. I’m even felling like I should have dressed up more”
I gave her a playful stink eye. “If you dress up more, then you’re going for fashion parade then cause this dress is gorgeous”
She was dressed in a single wide-strap, sleeveless red gown. There were red stones encrusted on the strap down to her mid-calf and then the flowed down to the floor from her hips.
“Thanks” she smiled.
“Where’s Chioma and the rest?” I peered into the crowd for any sight of them.
“I don’t think Chioma has arrived yet but Emeka and Chinonso are here” She said before taking my hands in hers. “Let me take you to our table”
I checked my phone for the umpteenth time. I had texted Noah two hours into the party and he replied that he was still busy but he would try to make it. An hour had gone past that time but he had still not arrived and most of the important events had been done. People were either dancing, eating, taking selfies or discussing in groups.
I might as well turn in for the night.
As I moved to place my phone back in my purse, I heard a familiar voice come up from behind me.
“Waiting for someone?”
I turned around almost immediately and found Mr. Kachi holding a half full glass of wine in his hands. He was dressed in a wine-red tuxedo with black colored lapels, shiny black leather shoes and expensive Rolex wristwatch.
“Your boyfriend, I presume” he said
“I guessed as much” he said
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I suddenly felt defensive
“No, I didn’t mean it in the way you’re thinking.” He raised a hand as some sort of peace sign. “It’s just that I saw you check your phone multiple times in the last hour so I thought you must have been waiting for him”
I felt myself calm down and I looked far deep into the crowd as if searching for someone. The conversation had died off and it was beginning to get awkward, standing silently.
“Would you like to dance?” he said abruptly
“I don’t think that’s a good idea” I said immediately
“I promise that I have no hidden motives... just a friendly, completely platonic offer” he raised his hand in surrender.
I was completely hesitant of the whole idea of dancing with him, in front of my work colleagues. Not to talk of how Noah would feel if he saw me with him. As I was about to reject the offer, I felt a hand placed on my shoulder.
“Why are you children standing in a place?”
I turned to see my boss, Mr. Emenike.
“You people should go and have fun. Everyone is out there dancing, unu nnolu na one corner, na-eme ka agadi” he said. (You’re standing in one corner, acting like old people)
Mr. Kachi raised his eyebrows suggestively.
I inwardly groaned. I’m so going to regret this
“Fine” I sighed in defeat
Mr. Kachi dropped his glass of wine on the table nearest to us before outstretching his hands to me. I took it reluctantly and we headed for the dance floor. The DJ changed the loud, upbeat music to a soft, slow one and the people already on the dance floor began to partner up.
I turned to face Mr. Kachi and we assumed the conventional slow dance position; one hand behind my back, mine on his shoulder and our second hands clasped with each other. I managed to maintain a decent amount of space between us.
As we began to sway to the music, I felt so uncomfortable and it was obvious from how stiff I was. Mr. Kachi chuckled and I looked up at him.
“People would think I’m about to murder you with how rigid you are right now” he said
A chuckle escaped my lips involuntarily.
“It looks that way, doesn’t it?” I said
“It does” he stated. “Relax. I won’t try anything stupid”
I let out a deep sigh before attempting to relax my limbs. We danced more like swayed in silence for about three minutes before he spoke up again.
“It’s nice to talk to you without the whole awkwardness” he said
“There’s still awkwardness” I pointed out.
He was about to say something when I heard a voice behind me. A voice that I knew all too well.
“Mind if I cut in?”
I immediately pulled away and turned to face the source of the voice.
Noah looked absolutely dashing in his all black tuxedo. He was spotting an unreadable cold expression on his face which was directed at Mr. Kachi. From twitching occurring by the side of his face, I knew he was definitely grinding his teeth.
“You must be ‘the boyfriend’” Mr. Kachi extended his hand to Noah.
Noah glared at the hand for a second before taking it in a firm shake. Maybe a little too firm, from the slight wince I noticed from Mr. Kachi.
“Dr. Noah. And you must be ‘the boss’” Noah gritted out.
“Mr. Kachi” he said trying to sound unaffected
I stood to the side as I watched the non-verbal conversation that was going on with their eyes. Noah was about two or more inches taller than Mr. Kachi and so there was an added advantage on his end in asserting dominance.
Lord Jesus, please let these men not cause a scene.
Noah finally released his grip on Mr. Kachi’s hand and I let out a sigh of relief.
Oh thank God.
Noah took my hands in his and pulled me away from the dance floor silently. My heart began pound against my chest. I couldn’t tell if he was upset with me as well. Once he reached the far end of hall, he turned around to face me.
I searched his eyes for any signs of emotions either negative or positive but found none. If there’s anything I disliked about Noah, it was his ability to keep a good poker face.
He finally broke into a smile. “I just knew I was going to have to fight guys off you, tonight”
“Oh my God” I exhaled as I wrapped my arms around his torso.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t here on time” he murmured against my head.
I looked up at him. “I don’t deserve you”
“That’s nonsense” He gently caressed my chin. “Absolute nonsense”
A wide grin made its way to my face and I whispered. “I love you”
“I would kiss you senseless right now but you work with this people” his eyes not leaving my face.
My face began to get hot and I immediately looked down.
I cleared my throat. “Uhm... let’s just enjoy the party”
I took his hand and pulled him along. I glanced back for a second to find him grinning hard. He was enjoying this way too much.
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