Joy held on to the hand with her two hands and forcefully pulled it off her face. She turned her head and her eyes met with Rick’s (her boss). Thinking she had over reacted, she quickly adjusted herself as she got on her feet still unable to hide her shock and bent her head to greet him alongside Kingsley who shook hands with him and Clara who was also already on her feet.
With the pleasantries out of the way, Joy turned towards the right to pull her seat closer only to be met by Donald who was already comfortably settled into a seat next to her smiling sheepishly at an obviously confused Joy. She tried to keep her face emotionless but even Clara who was busy getting Rick settled into a seat beside Kingsley noticed her shock from her look.
At that point Joy realized the hand that was pushed away was Donald’s, Rick wasn’t capable of such games with her. He had never as much as held her hand since she started working for him. How much more now in the presence of a fellow colleague and worker. No company head would take that kind of risk with his PA. She smiled like a little girl as she finally gave out her hand to shake Donald as she also finally got comfortable in her seat.
The rest of the evening was filled with lots of eating and drinking, Kingsley and Clara had announced their engagement and officially invited Rick and Donald to the church wedding since they were not going to be available for the traditional rites in the east.
Joy’s body dripped water continuously despite the air conditioning which was seemingly too cold for Clara, she freckled with her hair several times as she consciously intentionally avoided Donald’s eyes throughout the evening. She sat still and stiff like she had been glued to the seat as she picked her food. Even a chicken took larger quantities of rice at every scoop. She could have started a conversation with him while Rick discussed marriage with Kingsley and Clara but her tongue just felt tied to her ridge and no matter how hard she tried, her eyes won’t just stop blinking.
Surprisingly, Donald didn’t utter a word through it all, he took the liberty of just watching everyone speak and listened carefully each time Joy had a contribution to make. He knew his presence could make her fall off her seat but he restricted himself from getting the lady worked up unnecessarily. He never expected her to be at the restaurant, Rick had sighted Clara first as they walked into the diner but he (Donald) sighted Joy as he watched her gesticulate from afar. He knew he shouldn’t have covered her face like he did but each time he set his eyes on her, something in him was activated to trouble her a little (bully). They both had visited the tennis club and were at the restaurant for a bite. They ended up getting a three-course meal instead courtesy Mr. Kingsley who insisted they joined the table having recognized Donald from the airport and Rick, his soon to be wife’s boss.
When Rick got up and Donald did the same, Joy heaved a sigh of relief, she managed to get up her sit like others did, shook hands with Donald once again before giving Rick a bow. She couldn’t get her eyes off the two men as she watched them leave the restaurant until they completely disappeared before she joined the couple who seemed to be lost in each other already in their conversation. “What could she have done in such a tight situation?” she thought, she couldn’t afford to let Mr. Rick know anything about the intentions of Donald to be a friend. As far as she was concerned, it was unethical considering the circumstances on ground. It was also wrong officially since he was a client. To apologize to Donald while her boss was seated with them was a “no, no” for her at that moment.
She could only wish for one thing at that moment-another opportunity for a one on one contact that would enable her for once act like a mature adult. She smiled as she watched the lovebirds wishing she would finally also find a man who will love her for her even with her complicated background.
– Bunmi Olaoke