Emily stretched as her cup filled at the dispenser. Her eyes felt gritty, the food she had just eaten felt like rocks in her stomach. The day was shaping up to be one of those days when she wished she could use her lunch hour to sleep. She was dead tired and it was just past twelve on a Wednesday, there was still two and a half days ahead before the weekend. She yawned tiredly as she made her way back to her desk, in her job as a customer care agent for one of the leading national banks, she barely had a lunch break, but for the fact that it was against regulations to eat at your desk, she bet she would be required to attend to customers even while she was eating.
She saw that a customer was already seated at her desk waiting for her, and she could see some others waiting. She felt such resentment for the clients. Couldn’t they just give her five minutes to settle in post-lunch?
On second thought, she quickly banished those thoughts, the customers were the reason she had a job, and she couldn’t afford to be ungracious to them.
Dredging up a polite smile as she sat at her desk, she gave the customer seated opposite her a quick glance and a standard; “Good afternoon sir.” He looked familiar; he must be a regular customer although she couldn’t immediately place his face.
“Good afternoon.” He replied in a voice that sounded so familiar her gaze quickly returned to his face.
She stared as recognition dawned. “Obi Thompson?” This was Obi Thompson, her favorite radio show host. She would know that voice anywhere, she listened to him every day on her way to work. Such was her crush on him that she even goggled him to see what he looked like.
He smiled, and said in that deep voice she had come to love so much; “Lady you have me at a disadvantage for I don’t know you, yet.”
Emily blushed beneath her café au lait skin. Gosh, she was acting like a teenager and not a twenty five year old professional.
She gave herself a mental shake and composed herself, reverting to banker mode. “Emily Thomas, how may I help you?”
They spent the next ten minutes with her attending to his complaints, and when he left the bank, he had her phone number to ‘follow up’.
“Buchi!!” Emily screamed excitedly as she let herself into their apartment that evening.
Buchi came out of the kitchen smiling. “Where’s the fire? You are unusually happy.”
“I had a veerryy good day today.” Emily did a little dance as she threw her handbag into the nearest sofa.
“I can see that, what happened?”
“Ok, several good things happened today; first, I finally got to fill and mail my MBA form,….”
“Good for you.” Buchi motioned for Emily to follow her into the kitchen.
“And,………… I met Obi Thompson.”
“Who is Obi Thompson?”
Emily rolled her eyes as she snagged a fork to taste the spaghetti Buchi was making. “I swear, sometimes I think all you know is; work and Sam.”
“How can you not know who Obi Thompson is? He’s my favorite on-air-personality.” Emily replied in mock exasperation.
“Ok, now I know. So you met him, where?”
“He came to the bank, he looked even better in life. “
“And nothing. We met, he was so nice, totally didn’t have the celebrity, superior air. Very laid back.”
“What are you expecting, I attended to him, we exchanged contacts, and he called me on my way home, we talked, he is nice.”
“You’ve said that twice, I was waiting for the wow factor. Dinner is ready; serve yourself while I clean out the sink.”
Emily dished hers and Buchi’s and set the table, while Buchi cleaned out the kitchen.
When Buchi joined Emily at the table, rather than sit to eat, she stood for a moment, Emily stopped eating and looked at her questioningly, she looked disturbed.
“Ehm, my mom called, she said my cousin Linda will be coming into Lagos from Abuja for a three month interior decor course, and she’s going to need a place to stay. My mom already told her she could stay here, even before she called me. I hope its ok.”
“Off course, it’s not a problem.” Emily sighed. “For a moment there I thought something was wrong.”
“My cousin Linda is……… lets just say she isn’t one of my favorite persons, and I’m dreading her visit. I hope she wont rub you the wrong way.” Buchi said apologetically.
“We’ll be fine.”
“I hope so.”
Linda arrived on Saturday with a bang. For a three month stay, she came in with three large suitcases.
She went; “Darling cousin, how are you? Its been ages.” She enveloped Buchi in a perfumed hug and air-kiss.
“You’re welcome, how was your trip?” Buchi asked with a polite smile as she ushered her in.
“Oh, don’t get me started about the flight delay, and the Lagos traffic,…… oh, I almost fainted. Dear coz, you look good. Lagos agrees with you, and I bet Sam is good for you as well. How is he?” She looked around the living room. “Beautiful.” She nodded in approval. “I love what you’ve done with the living room, simple. By the time I’m done, it’ll be better.” She sank into a sofa, kicking off her shoes.
Buchi laughed nervously. “We like it the way it is, remember I have a flat mate.”
“That’s true, where’s she? Emily right?
“Yes, Emily is out, can I get you anything, a drink?”
“Anything cold.” Linda got out her phone.
Buchi rolled her eyes at Linda behind her back. At the door, she turned to her. “Bring your bags in here, let me show you to my room.” She said to Linda, the sooner she realized that she wasn’t going to wait on her, the better for them all.
‘Coming!” Linda replied.
Obi dropped Emily off in front of her compound after their lunch date. The date had gone so well, she and Obi just clicked, effortlessly. They had spent almost four hours talking at an upscale restaurant on the island, and had only got up to leave when the restaurant staff had begun giving them side looks. They had talked about any and everything, they had told each other about themselves, she had told him about her recent two-timing disaster, and her consequent wish to focus on her career. He understood her wish, as he also wanted to focus on building his career. they had so much fun, and a second date was guaranteed.
Her ability to talk to Obi was what she felt had been missing from her immediate past relationships with both Dayo and Korede. With Obi, she felt like she could be herself, tell him anything.
She noticed a car parked beside the gate, and ever security conscious she tried to get a good look at it, and hissed angrily when she saw that it was Korede. She ignored him and went inside. He had taken to stalking her since she broke off with him, she had told him off many times but he kept coming, so now she was ignoring him. Hopefully, eventually he’ll get the message.
‘Emily!” He called her, walking briskly after her.
“Go away Korede” She replied wearily, not breaking her step.
“I just want to talk to you.” He caught up with her at the stairs leading up to their apartment.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
He grabbed her hand to stop her.
“Let go of my hand!” She yelled at him.
“Just stop for a second.” He said desperately.
“Let go of her hand.” Sam, Buchi’s fiancé said from behind them.
Korede dropped her hand and whirled around quickly. “Sam, its me Korede.”
“Yes I know its you, and I heard Emily, she doesn’t want to talk to you.” Sam replied drily.
“I just need a….”
“Go Korede.” Emily was very grateful for Sam’s presence, she was weary of Korede’s persistence. “Thanks Sam.” She said after Korede had gone.
“Are you ok?” He asked concerned.
“She nodded in affirmation.
“You really should talk to him, put this matter to rest.”
“I will. Thanks again.”
They walked up in silence, Buchi opened the door when she rang the bell.
“If it isn’t my two favorite people! Hello you two.” Buchi welcomed them with a smile, and a hug for Sam. “Linda, come and meet Emily and Sam.” She called out loud. “How was your date?” she asked Emily as she headed to her room.
Before Emily could reply, Linda made a grand entrance into the living room, Emily and Buchi stared in surprise at her. She had changed into short pink ballerina skirt and yellow tube top, and stiletto slippers.
Stiletto slippers, in the house!
Linda had eyes only for Sam, and she made for him directly. “Hello, you must be Sam, I’m Linda.”
“Nice to meet you Linda.” He stretched out his hand for a handshake.
“Uhm uhm.” She shook head in negation. “Show me some love, we’re practically family.” And to the amazement of all in the living room., Linda leaned in and kissed Sam on the lips.