At approximately seven o’clock a taxi picked up Nina and drove her to Seven Seas for dinner. As soon as she entered the room, she was approached by a waiter who accompanied her to a table in a quiet corner, where Mr. Charles was seated.
On seeing her walking towards him. He stood up and stretched out his hand towards her welcoming her. He was wearing a beautifully tailored black dinner jacket that flattered his short black wavy hair, giving him that sophisticated look.
It would be quite easy to drown deep in those strong arms of his. Nina thought. As soon as she sat down, evidently charmed by Nina’s appearance he said.” Miss Curtis, do you know you’re a very beautiful woman?”
Nina knew she was but still she blushed as she responded to his compliment.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Charles”
He smiled at Nina. Hope bloomed inside her, and an unexpected happiness consumed her. They ordered drinks, followed by dinner and after which they went into a discussion concerning the loan.
Mr. Charles was the first to bring it up.
“Miss Curtis I’m going to be frank with you. Not one bank will be willing to give you a loan, without a certain amount of equity, and that’s something you just don’t have.
I honestly would like to assist you. I like your idea and your enthusiasm. However, it would be a great risk if I were to decide to lend you the loan. .
” He watched her face as he expressed his concern, but she showed no expression, even though on the inside, she suspected that her world was about to fall apart.
Nina listened with much anticipation as he continued speaking.
“I get this feeling though that if you were to be given the opportunity you would do well.”
When Nina heard those words, she felt a sudden flare of joy and her hopes soared once more. But she concealed it perfectly. She didn’t know what to say, she remained quiet and listened keenly to every word spoken by Mr Charles. At the same time she was mentally figuring out what her next move should be, just in case Mr Charles turned her down.
Nina desperately needed that loan and she was willing to do what she could to get it. Finally, after one lengthy speech as if he didn’t intend to stop, he did. He took a sip of his wine, replaced the glass, and said.
“I have a proposition for you.”
Nina instantly became curious, and gave him a questioning look. “Okay, shoot I’m listening.”
He smiled at her showing some startlingly perfect white glistening teeth.
“You are a very intelligent woman, you know what you want and you’re very ambitious, incredible and lovely. I really do like you, and I think I’m going to help you”.
Upon hearing those words, she was flabbergasted. Joy and gratitude welled up inside of her, and in a matter of moments, before she could fully digest what she had heard.
“He bent closer to her and whispered in her ears.
“I’m sure you could have any man you want, but I like you a lot and I hope you will do me the honour and be my woman.”
The wine glass fell instantly from her hand, her mouth wide opened, but lost for words, and her eyes took in more light than expected, while her brain went on sudden pause.
Imagine one moment you’re filled….. with… excitement and then from out of nowhere a bomb exploded that left you lost for words. You’re wondering what had happened. Bewildered by Mr. Charles’ absurd behaviour. After a brief pause, exhaling noisily through one’s pursed lips, she pulled herself together and asked.
“Mr. Charles, why would I do that? I don’t know you.” She stared at him. He looked directly into her eyes and his mouth twisted into a smile that looked anything but genuine. He then said,
“We will in time besides you need a loan. Don’t you?”
His face was one of utmost confidence, she could tell instantly that he wasn’t accustomed to hearing no.
Her face flames. “Are you kidding me?” she responded. Michael looked at her amused.
“No Ms. Curtis, do I sound like I am?” Nina fidgeted uncomfortably
“I’m afraid, that’s something I wouldn’t consider appropriate Mr. Charles.”
“Well, you are entitled to your opinion.”
“You can’t be serious; you must be joking.”
Ms. Curtis; I don’t know about you but I’m a serious man and I always get what I want.”
“Good for you.”
“Your request is absurd.”
It took her a few minutes to calm down her over heated heart, that was ticking away like a bomb about to explode. No matter what, she can’t be little herself, she thought gravely.
“How utterly ridiculous, my God what had just happened was this man actually expecting me to give myself to him in exchange for a loan?” she wondered.
“Mr. Charles must be joking, or rather gone out of his mind.” She was struggling to come to terms with his proposal. She attempted to say something, but what’s the point, she pushed her thoughts aside, frowned and gave up any attempt at any further conversation.
His request was preposterous, and there was no way she was going to take him seriously, but what if he was really serious, she desperately needed that loan. She felt as if her head was about to burst open, she pressed her hands together tightly on her legs to remain calm.
Her future hung on her response. This could be her only chance of turning her dream into reality. This was her first opportunity, and possibly maybe the only opportunity she will get, to finally have the business she has come to imagine herself owning. What the hell was she going to do?
After much pondering in her head, she said unenthusiastically, ``she will think about it.” his response was.
“Take your time dear, I’m a very patient man.” disturbed by Mr. Charles behaviour she decided to leave immediately. She reached out to pick up her purse. He looked at her and with a soft low voice he asked.
“Well, it has been a very long and tiring day Mr. Charles. I think I’ve had enough surprises for one day. If you will excuse me, I should be getting back home now. Thanks for the dinner.”
She started getting up but he projected his arm forward and held unto hers, with a surprising gentleness. She looked at him quizzically but he held her gaze steadily until she was forced to look away.
“Don’t go, I’ll take you home” he said in a quiet and charming tone, but she responded.
“It’s ok, no need to I can manage, I’ll just call a taxi.” he still insisted on having his way.
“I insist, give me a few more minutes and I’ll take you home.”
Nina sat back down reluctantly, can’t help but feeling disheartened. She was given another glass of champagne. She sipped at it reluctantly, wishing it was something much stronger.
Mr. Charles smiled at her while sipping his. Absolutely aware of Nina being disappointed by his decision. Shortly afterward as he had promised. He accompanied her home and surprisingly he was a gentleman. He walked her to her door, kissed her on the left hand and bid her good night. Nina hurried inside and closed the door behind her.
That night when Mr. Charles reached home. He walked across the living room, stripping off his clothes as he went. After which he walked over to his wine cabinet and poured himself a glass of champagne. He then went back to his living room and sat down on a small comfortable sofa. Taking a small sip from his glass while locked in thoughts concerning Miss Curtis.
Few minutes later he got up from his chair and walked over to an opened window and leaned against it. He stood looking out across to the dim horizon inhaling gulps of fresh air as he sip at his glass, trying to calm his nerves, his imagination running high.
“She’s such a beautiful woman, Oh my God she’s different.” he thought. He took another drink from the glass he had in his hand and smiled to himself.
“I think I have finally found my wife.” he murmured, “I’ve been waiting for such a long time, finally she’s here.”
Back home Nina was filled with disappointment but she still wasn’t ready to give up on her dream.
She unbuttoned her blouse, walked into the bathroom, stripped down and stepped slowly into the shower. She turned the water tap on high and let it beat over her head in rivulets. She closed her eyes to the warmth of the water as it soaks into her skin. She leaned against the cold tiles.
Her left foot was overpowered with cramp and threatened to give way. The shower curtain was ripped back. As she showered the water escaped onto the floor but she didn’t even notice. Engrossed, she was with her thoughts as the warm water cascaded down her body massaging it.
Sometimes later freshly showered and changed. Nina sat up in her bed drinking a cold beer, her mind going over every instant of time that had elapsed, since she was with Michael Charles and had listened to his unorthodox proposal.
It was impossible for her to fall asleep. She looked around the room. It was very quiet and her head hurt. She rose and walked into the small drawing room of her two-bedroom apartment.
She looked around the overcrowded room filled with boxes. Just as she had placed them from three months ago when she moved in. They were piled high on each other, only a few feet from the ceiling.
Her life could have taken a different part, if her mom had only spent some time listening to her, instead of being quick to jump to conclusions without the slightest idea of what the real situation was.”
She took another sip of her beer as memories of her past started flashing in front of her. Her mother’s voice rang out loud in her ears. “You can’t stay here, go to the man who did that to you, I am responsible for a child not an adult and from what I’m seeing, you’re clearly no longer a child.”
Nina bit down on her lips and with clenched fists she struggled to hold back the tears that were building up in the corner of her eyes, Oh mom.
If her mom had only learnt how to listen at times and stop cursing, she would have had a better understanding of knowing she wasn’t the kind of child she thought she was and possibly their relationship would be different, and her life would have been better. but she was so full of herself she had even refused to listen. And poor dad loved her to death. He never has the guts to really stand up to her.
Nina swallowed the last of her beer and was still struggling with her thoughts. She needed something stronger. She went to the kitchen and got herself a glass and a bottle of wine. She walked back into her bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. She poured some of the wine into the glass and drank it in one go and for the next hour she consumed the wine in silence, as if drowning herself with the wine was the answer to her problems and then miraculously her past would instantly disappear.