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Dark clouds began to gather; the air thickened with moisture and dust. Lightning flashed and thunder struck, followed by icy droplets of rain.
Promise stood at the entrance of the supermarket and shivered. She clutched at her shopping bags, wishing she had come in her car.
‘How was I supposed to know that it would rain today?’ She lamented.
Her father’s house was a street away but she couldn’t walk home in the rain. She would definitely catch a cold.
A tall figure breezed past her but she paid no attention to the person. Her mind was wrapped up her predicament. May be she would stop a taxi. Although she might be charged unfairly, trust Lagos taxi drivers, she had no other choice.
“Promise, Promise Daodu.”
The sound of her name drew her out of her thoughts. She shifted her gaze and noticed the fair in complexion man standing beside her. Recognition hit her. Her pause quickened and her mouth went dry.
“Hi, are you about to leave?”
She nodded and held his gaze. The following week after his birthday party, she saw him once or twice at the office, but they couldn’t talk at length due to their busy schedule. She had not expected to see him again until Monday, although they both lived within the same vicinity. The sight of him made her feel pleased.
“Can I see you off to your car?”
She blinked and turned her gaze towards the car park.
“My car… ” She glanced up at him, “Regrettably, I didn’t come with it.”
She looked away again.
“Can I drop you at home or wherever you are going?”
She shook her head, “Thanks, I live a street away. I would have walked back home, but, the rain seems to be getting heavier. I will get a cab.”
“I insist, I will take you home,” he collected her shopping bags and led her towards the car park. He had been longing to be in her company since the day she came to his birthday party. He had sought for such an opportunity at the office, but, it had been a busy week. He was glad he ran into her at the supermarket.
“Thanks, I inherited the Prado Jeep from my dad.”
“Oh… You are lucky.”
They got into the car and he drove out of the complex. The journey was short, but, he decided to make the best of it.
“Please send my regards to your parents.”
“Okay. Thanks for the ride,” she got out of the car with her shopping bags.
“You are welcome. Would you like to go out with me for lunch or dinner tomorrow?”
Her surprised expression wasn’t lost to him. He liked her and he was sure she felt the same way. He wanted to get to know her and find out if he could spend the rest of his life with her.
“Em… Lunch will be fine.”
He beamed at her response.
“Great! I will pick you up at two.”
“Okay. Have a lovely day.”
She watched me drive off. His excitement felt like a soothing balm on her racing heart. It was obvious that Gbenga Lewis really liked her. She liked him too, regardless of how she had tried to stop her emotions from building, her heart wouldn’t give up.
She made her way into the house and retreated to her bedroom. She dumped the shopping bags on the tiled floor and collapsed on the bed, lost in thoughts.
It had been almost ten months since she broke up with Keshinro. Was she fully ready for another relationship?
‘God I really, really, really like Gbenga. I need you to take absolutely full control.’
Gbenga fixed his gaze on the screen of the laptop while his fingers breezed through the keyboard.
“I didn’t know you can type so fast.”
He lifted his hazel eyes and smiled when he saw Promise standing at the doorway.
“I might dump all my paper-work on your desk first thing tomorrow morning.”
He began to laugh.
She approached his glass desk and took a seat opposite him.
“You look good,” his gaze sized her up. She was putting on a cream skirt suit. The colour made her dark brown skin to glow. He also noticed that she had changed her hairstyle.
She blushed, “Thanks.”
“I had a beautiful time yesterday,” he reached out for her hand.
“Same here,” they had lunch at a restaurant and drove to Kuramo beach. She had fun gisting and strolling with him.
“What about after working hours?”
“Today?” Her pulse quickened.
She tried to redrew her hand but he held unto it.
“I like you a lot Promise. I want to get to know you better.”
Her heart began to beat faster.
“I don’t play games. I am here for the real deal. I am hoping this relationship will lead us to the altar.”
She took a deep breath and exhaled. His words bathed her with hope and longing. She had never dated anyone whose major desire was to get married to her. Her past relationships were short flings which never led anywhere. Was Gbenga for real?
He squeezed her hand.
“Promise, If you agree to date me, I promise you that I will always be truthful, honest, faithful and God will be at the very centre of this relationship.”
She looked deep into his eyes and smiled, “I like you too and will like to date you.”
He dropped her hand and got to his feet. He walked up to her and pulled her up.
“I am happy. I am glad. I am excited. You are an answer to many nights of prayers and petitions.”
All she could do was smile.
“When is your birthday?”
“Next month, on the tenth.”
“March, great! How old would you be?”
“How old do you think I am?” She eyed him.
“You are a small girl,” his hands drew her closer.
“Yes, you are my baby.”
She laughed softly and her voice wavered when she felt his heartbeat against her cheek.
“I will be twenty-seven on the tenth of March.”
“Hmmm… So you are a big girl.”
“What is going on here?”
They both turned and saw Mrs. Daodu standing at the doorway with hands on her hips.
He let her go and she approached her mother.
She eyed her daughter.
“Nothing is going on, everything is just as the way they should be.”
“Really?” She threw a glance at the Accountant. He swallowed hard and adjusted his tie.
“Why don’t we go to my office?” She led her mother out and winked at Gbenga.
He returned to his seat and drummed his fingers on the glass desk. What was he thinking? Was it wise to court his boss’ daughter? Would they sack him?
“No,” he shook his head. The Daodus were not like that. But, in matters of the heart, it was hard to define where others stood. He hoped he had not crossed his boundaries. He liked Promise. If her parents frowned at their relationship, he would plead his case.
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Blessing refused to go to her daughter’s office, rather, she dragged her to her husband’s office.
“I told you that something was going on between Promise and the Accountant, but, you wouldn’t listen to me. I caught them locked in each others arms in his office.”
“Stop mummy me. This is an office environment.”
She rolled her eyes, dreading the lecture that would surely follow.
Osagie watched his wife and daughter with keen interest.
“Your mother is right.”
“Dad, I apologize.”
“Are you dating Gbenga?”
“What did I tell you?”
Promise rolled her eyes again. Her mother was something else.
“Okay. You and Gbenga are both adults, but this is an office environment. Please do not bring your relationship within the four walls of this company. We have had too many disastrous office relationships in the past. Both of you are heads of different departments and you must show good example.”
“Roger that dad. We will be more careful.”
“I hope so.”
She decided not to reply her mother, “I have to go,” she faced her dad.
“All right Princess.”
She found her way out of the office.
“I can’t believe they are now dating, I could have sworn they were at each others throat some weeks back.”
“Leave them alone Blessing. They know exactly what they are doing.”
She noticed the note of finality in his voice.
“Some months ago, you were complaining that Promise was behaving like a loner. You said she locks herself indoors and rarely go out. Now that she is dating someone, you are complaining again.”
“It is not like that.”
“Save it till we get home Blessing.”
She eyed him and got up, “Yes your majesty,” she bowed comically and headed out.
He shook his head and sighed. His wife was a wonderful character. He was glad that she was the one he had chosen to spend the rest of his life with.
Six months later.
Promise walked out of the kitchen carrying a plate of toasted bread and a mug of hot beverage. She headed for the dining, the click sound of her shoes echoed through the walls of the empty room. She glanced at the wall clock. It was thirty minutes past seven. She had to leave home before eight or she would get to work late.
Her parents had already left. She had woken up with a massive hunger that demanded to be satisfied. The last time she went to work on an empty stomach, she could only think of food and barely got her work done.
She drew out a chair and placed the plate and the mug on the dinning table. While she ate, she browsed with her blackberry phone. She checked her email box and almost spilled her beverage on her chocolate-brown trouser suit when she saw a mail from TL Communications Company. The firm was one of the companies she had submitted her application letter to in Lekki. At that time, she was informed that there was no vacancy, but they promised to get back to her once something came up.
She opened the mail and read through it. An interview had been scheduled for her that day for nine a.m on the dot. She needed to leave home immediately.
‘God, this is the dream job I have been waiting for. I need your endless favour today’.
Promise hurried out of the house, leaving leftover toasted bread and a mug of beverage on the dinning table. Her mother would scream if she saw it when she returned from work that day. If all went well, she would be home before her parents. That would give her time to put the house in order before they returned.
She unlocked the gate and pushed it wide open. She got into the car, drove out of the compound and returned to lock the gate. She raced back into the car and glanced at her wrist-watch. It was a few minutes past eight.
‘God I really need you today’.
Gbenga stood at the opened window and stared at the busy street. He had not seen Promise all day. Where could she be? It was almost four in the evening and she had not shown up at work. He had dialed her mobile number several times, but it was switched off. He had pinged her on the blackberry messenger, sent her emails, but there had been no response whatsoever.
He had almost asked her parents where their daughter was, but, he decided against it. Maybe she had a meeting to attend to on the behalf of the company. Why didn’t she inform him? They were together the other night and she didn’t mention something like that. As far as he knew, her schedule was clear that day. They had joked that she might spend the whole day in his office, but, where was she?
He sighed heavily and returned to his desk. Why didn’t she bother to call him? She should have informed him about her whereabouts. He hoped nothing bad had happened to her. His heart missed a beat. He picked up his phone and dialed her number again.
Someone knocked at his door and walked in. His worried looks vanished when he saw Promise.
“Where have you been?” He rose up.
“Sweet heart, I have got news for you,” she hurried to his side, excitement was written all over her face.
He turned away when she tried to hug him. She sized him up and grimaced when she saw the frown on his face. She realized that he must have been worried when she didn’t show up that morning.
“I should have called, I am sorry sweet heart.
He folded his arms across his chest and eyed her.
“I know you must have dialed my number a million times. I had to switch off my phone because of where I was.”
He sat back on his seat and watched her closely. Where was she all day?
“I will gist you,” she took a seat opposite him, “I got a mail this morning from TL Communications Company.”
He lifted one of his brows in interest, “Isn’t that one of the companies you have been praying a storm to work in?”
She nodded and reached out for his hand, “Yes, they invited me for an interview scheduled for nine this morning.”
His face brightened, “I believe you did excellently well.”
She squeezed his hand, “Yes, sweet heart. God was faithful, I got the job.”
“Wow!” He blew her a kiss and she blushed.
Gbenga could be so romantic and that was one of the reasons why she loved him.
“Come here and give your sweet heart a hug.”
She rushed into his waiting arms and they remained in that position for a while.
“You have made me a very happy man.”
“And I am a very happy woman.”
He pulled away a bit and looked deep into her dark brown eyes. They seemed to have a glow about them at that moment.
“Promise will you marry me?”
She blinked and gapped at him.
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he had been longing to say these words to her since they started dating. Each day assured him that she was the one for him.
To Be Continued…