I got to the office on Monday morning with the hope of hashing everything out and coming to a conclusion that could work for all. I did not plan to give up my love and life for silly traditions and I was ready to fight for what I believed in.
I got to the office just in time for the usual Monday morning meetings. Most of the staff was seated already including Dapo but I was not able to exchange words with anyone before our boss came in.
As I sat demurely in my seat, listening to and watching what was happening around me, I could barely suppress the urge to jump on Dapo and hold him tightly. His eyes caught mine a few seconds into the meeting and he didn’t let go. Every time my eyes went back to him, his were still glued to my face. I was so self-conscious of his scrutiny, I was sure others noticed too.
As soon as the meeting was over, I saw him headed straight towards me. He was detained by people wanting to say hello to him but he quickly brushed them off and kept coming. Then, I was surrounded by people who wanted to ask how I was faring after my loss. I received condolence messages one after the other, smiling and nodding and looking grave whenever it was needed but my mind was on the handsome man moving towards me with such determination etched on his face.
He finally reached me and took my hand. I guessed he couldn’t wait to touch me. “How are you doing Leona? Sorry about your loss. Who died anyway?”
I couldn’t believe him. Was he trying to be funny? Of course, he knew nobody had died. I decided to play his game. “Oh, someone very special.”
“Really?” he squeezed my hand. “Who? I hope the person was old?”
“Oh no. Quite young actually. It was such a big loss. It was devastating and it broke my heart. He had such a full life ahead of him.”
“He, uh?” his eyes sparkled. I could tell he was enjoying himself.
“Yes. A cousin very dear to my heart.” I batted my eyes and smiled impishly.
“Eyah. So sorry for your loss. Accept my condolences.” Adesuwa, an intern in the firm said, patted my back and left.
One by one those who surrounded us left until it remained just me and Dapo. “Now, I have you all to myself and there is nowhere to run.” His words sounded like both a promise and a threat.
He dragged me by the hand and headed straight in the direction of his office. On getting into the privacy of his office, he didn’t even give me time to utter a single word before crushing me to him and kissing me deeply. I was momentarily caught off guard before I caught on and kissed him back with everything I’ve got.
A little while later, I pulled back and he released me reluctantly. We wouldn’t want someone to walk in on us in this position; after all we were in the work place.
“I’ve really missed you.” He murmured, still holding on to me.
“I missed you too.”
“I don’t understand though. Why did you shut me out?”
“I just needed to work some things out, okay? I hope you understand?”
“I thought as much but I was hurt all the same.”
“I’m sorry for putting you through all that.” I led him in and sat down pulling him into a chair opposite me, still holding on to his hand. “But you do understand why I had to do it?”
“Yes, I do. So, what’s the plan now?”
I sighed. “While coming to the office this morning, I actually thought of a plan that might work.”
That got his attention. “Okay, I’m listening.”
“I thought of my aunt that resides in Enugu. She’s my dad’s elder sister and she has a great influence on him. I think she might be able to sway him.”
He looked deep in thought. “What makes you think she’ll sway him towards you? Isn’t she a great believer in tradition too? After all, she’s older and probably more rooted than he is.”
I waved his concern aside. “Oh, my aunt is not all that. She’s very forward thinking. In fact, I’m surprised by my parents; they never gave any indication of believing in this tradition stuff. I don’t know what came over them.”
“Precisely my point. What if your aunt turns out the same way?”
“Hmm good point, but I don’t think so. Anyway, we’ll never know till we try, right?”
“Okay. Let’s try it your way. How will you see her? It’s too important a matter to talk over on phone.”
“True. I’ll have to travel down to Enugu to see her. She’s elderly and I can’t ask that big a favor of her on phone.”
“When will you go?”
“Why not this weekend? I won’t rest until I know this matter is settled.”
“Neither will I. Although, no love is as sweet as forbidden love.” he winked
I laughed. “True that. Forbidden love is so sweet.”
He winked again and got serious. “I’ll book your flight for you later in the day. Return ticket right?”
“Definitely. I have to be back by Sunday. I can’t take any more time off work.”
“Okay. So it’s a plan?”
“It’s a plan. Let’s hope it works.”