Promise returned to her hotel room immediately after the contract was awarded to Yellow Tube Communications Company. They had the final meeting in one of Labadi Beach hotel halls.
It was a Friday and she had only a day left to explore Accra before she returned to Abuja with her boss.
She had made plans with the driver to go to as many places as possible. She would spend the whole day sight-seeing. She hoped to return to Accra during her next vacation. She might visit with Gift and Prince if they were available.
At about a quarter past eleven, she noticed the text message icon on her phone. It was from her boss and he was at the door. She wondered if he had been knocking for a while. What does he want now? Why hasn’t he slept? She dragged her weight from the sofa and made sluggish steps towards the door. She was still clad in the navy blue skirt suit she had been wearing all day. She needed to take a bath and get into her silky pyjamas. She needed at least six hours of sleep in order to be able to function the next day.
She unlocked the door and opened it. Her boss stood at the doorway in his pyjamas, holding a bottle of wine, a small bucket of ice, two empty wine glasses and a packet of Snickers chocolate.
“We need to celebrate,” a sheepish smile was pasted on his face.
She tried not to look at him directly, “Sir it is late. I want to sleep. I have a lot of places to visit tomorrow.”
“I know, the driver told me,” he brushed past her and walked into the room.
She gapped in shock. How dare him? He can’t just walk into her room without her invitation. He might be her boss, but, she was entitled to her privacy. ‘What is wrong with this man? What part of ‘it is late’ doesn’t he understand? Is it by force to celebrate? I don’t want any disturbance tonight.’
He placed the bottle, glasses, bucket and chocolate on the table. She closed the door and folded her hands across her chest.
“Do you know that your salary has been increased just because of the success of this contract?”
An increase in her salary would settle a lot of needs. The frown on her face began to fade.
“You should travel with me more often. You are very reliable,” he filled the glasses with ice-cubes and opened the bottle of wine. He poured some of the wine into the glasses and beckoned to her.
“I don’t drink alcohol.”
“I know, this is Eva wine. It is non-alcoholic. It is a fruit wine.”
She stepped forward and collected a glass from him.
“Cheers,” he winked at her and downed his drink. He refilled his glass and settled on the sofa.
She sipped at her drink and noticed the distinct grape flavour. She liked fruit wine and juices with grape flavour. Her frown faded completely.
“Come and sit beside me,” he patted the empty space beside him. She looked at him, then at the chair and back at him. Nothing in this world would make her sit that close to him. She turned towards the bed, drew out a short stool clothed with thick foam and sat on it. How was she going to get him out of her room?
Keshinro refilled his glass again and opened the packet of chocolate. He passed it to her but she shook her head in refusal. He had not been able to sleep. He had not slept well all week-long. He had been brain storming how he was going to cajole her. In his life time, only a few women had rejected him. So many had found him irresistible and had fallen for him with little or no pressure. But, Promise was proving to be a hard nut to crack.
It was obvious that she was attracted to him, but he couldn’t understand how and where she found the strength and will power to refuse him. He must have her at all cost. He would not stop until she was his.
She fidgeted on her seat. She drained her glass and began to play with the ice cubes in the wine glass. ‘This man should go and sleep. Leave me alone Mr. Keshinro! Lord God almighty, what kind of trouble is this?’
“I am coming with you tomorrow. We shall explore Accra together,” he got up and walked out of the room. Promise stood up immediately, what did he just say? Was he coming with her? No, no, no. She wanted the day to herself. She stamped one of her feet on the ground in displeasure. What sort of man is this? She approached the sofa and noticed that the bottle of wine was almost empty and the packet of chocolate was half eaten. What was she going to do? How was she going to get out of this situation?
The continues ringing of her phone lured her out of slumber. She opened one eye and surveyed her environment. She was in her hotel room, seated on the sofa and was clad in a navy blue skirt suit. She opened her other eye and scratched at a sudden itch at the nape of her neck. What’s that smell? She sniffed the air, then sniffed at her skin.
“Yuck!” She was smelling badly. She didn’t take her bath the other night. How did she end up sleeping on the sofa? She let out a loud yawn and stretched her hands, legs and back. She turned her neck side ways and in a up and down motion.
She noticed the empty bottle of Eva wine and two empty wine glasses and an empty packet of Snickers chocolate on the table. A small ice-cube bucket was lying an inch away from the table. She yawned again. Her phone continued to ring.
Where was her phone? She tried to get up, but fell back on the chair. She felt weak at the knees and her body ached with vengeance. Why did she sleep on the sofa? Why didn’t she sleep on her bed?
‘Where is that phone?’ She looked around her and searched the chair and the table. She found it under the sofa. She picked it up and sat on the tiled floor. She pressed the answer key and placed the phone close to her left ear.
“Are you ready?”
“Hmmm… Ready for what?” Who was she speaking to?
“Promise, the driver is waiting for us at the lobby. We have a long day ahead of us.”
His voice registered on her drowsy mind. It was her boss. She looked up at the wall clock. It was 8 a.m.
“Sir, good morning sir.”
“Please meet us at the lobby.”
“Sir… ” Her brows knotted in a frown.
“Promise are you okay?”
She would rather stay indoors than go sightseeing with her boss. She was not prepared to bite more than she could chew.
“Sir… Sir, I don’t think I am up to it.”
“I didn’t get enough sleep, I want to lie in and get some rest.”
She noticed the note of disappointment in his voice. ‘Who cares?’
“Have a good day sir,” she hang up and heaved a sigh of relief. She needed to shower. She needed to rest and she was beginning to feel hungry. She would order for a light breakfast once she had, had her bath. She doesn’t feel like stepping out of her room. She might run into her boss and that would be catastrophic. She yawned again and lifted herself off the floor.
Promise finished packing and zipped her bag. The driver had called to inform her that their flight was at 3 p.m and he would take them to the airport at 2:30 p.m. She had an hour to kill. Should she take a stroll or stay back and watch a movie?
The knocks on her door interrupted her thoughts. Who could that be? She adjusted her blouse and approached the door. She opened it and came face to face with her boss. She stepped back into the room, he walked in and she shut the door.
In a twinkle of an eye, he pulled her close and consumed her lips with his hungry ones. She tried to break free from his firm grip, but he wouldn’t budge. He let her go after about a minute and cupped her troubled face in his hands.
“I love you and I want you. Please give me a chance.”
She slapped him on the face twice and pointed a warning finger at him, “Don’t you ever in your life… ” She shook with emotion, her eyes began to sting. She sniffed and tried to hold back the tears threatening to spill all over her face. She didn’t want to cry in front of him. She took a long deep breath and exhaled.
“Promise,” he closed the gap between them. She pushed him away and stood behind the sofa.
“Promise, I love you. I am incomplete without you.”
She shook her head and wished she could block her ears from his alluring words. Tears ran down her face. The kiss had awoken her feelings for him. If he touched her again, she might not be able to fight him anymore. He was married for heaven sake. God help her!
‘I don’t want to sin against you God. Please save me, please,’ she prayed within her.
Keshinro was not ready to give up. He didn’t care if they missed their flight. Been so close to her all week-long without being able to express his desires had almost driven him out of his mind. He must have her. Nothing was going to stand in his way.
“Promise, I know you feel the same way about me.”
He turned deaf ears to her warning and joined her behind the sofa.
The last thing she remembered was how she had tried to fight him off.
The last thing he remembered was when she stopped fighting him off.
Lost in fiery passion, immersed in the intoxicating waters of desire, the waves of pleasure led them to a timeless shore
“How do I look?” Kabira turned to face her roommates who were seated on the King size bed and watching a Mexican soap opera on the television.
“All dressed up for Abubakar,” Bolatito winked at her and she smiled back.
“You are going to kill that young man tonight,” Promise sized up her room-mate who was clad in a short black dress with white stripes which complimented her pear shape.
Kabira blushed and looked away. Adaeze hissed and eyed her.
“All this for just a Hausa man. Will he marry you at the end of the day?”
They all gapped at her. She never seemed to stop amazing them with her spiteful comments.
“Adaeze!” Promise and Bolatito chorused.
“What?” She hissed again and returned her attention to the television.
“Don’t mind her. She is just jealous,” she turned to look at her appearance before the standing mirror nailed to the cream painted wall. She would not allow Adaeze’s attitude to distract her.
“Me? Jealous of who? You?” Her brows came together in an angry frown.
“Yes of course. After all, you spend all your waking hours with Bachelor, yet, he has never asked you out.”
Promise and Bolatito burst out laughing. Adaeze got down from the bed fuming with anger.
“I don’t know why you waste your time with him. I hope you have not slept with him.”
“Whatever I do with Bachelor is none of your business.”
“Really?” She faced her, “Do you know how many girls sleep over at his place almost every weekend?”
“That is a rumour.”
“Says who? Promise and I saw some of them.”
Adaeze glanced at Promise for confirmation.
“It is true.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Bolatito hit her on the shoulder.
“Ouch! What’s wrong with you?”
“You should have told me,” she retorted.
“Stop hitting people, it is not lady-like,” she eyed her.
Adaeze marched out of the apartment. They all watched her go. Kabira started to laugh. Promise felt sorry for her. But, Bolatito was still angry. She had been competing with Adaeze to win Bachelor’s heart. Now that she had an unknown number of ladies to contend with, it seemed her efforts over the past months had been like pouring water into a basket. She hoped Adaeze would deal with him. That young man had been playing games with them and he needed to be punished.
“Abubakar is here! His car is parked outside. See you later girls,” Kabira picked up her purse and walked out of the apartment.
Promise shook her head. She hoped Kabira’s relationship with Abubakar would turn into something serious and lasting.
“I am through with Bachelor.”
She patted her on the back, ” What is his real name?”
Bolatito hissed and slumped on the bed. She placed a pillow over her head and remained that way for several minutes.
Promise sighed and decided to ignore her. Her phone began to ring. She reached out for it at the edge of the bed.
“Hello,” she got into her slippers and headed out.
She blushed, she liked it whenever he called her Princess.
“I miss you.”
The moment she stepped out, she saw Adaeze and Bachelor leaning on his car but arguing at the top of their voice.
“Hello Princess, are you there?”
“Yes… ” She decided to take a stroll down the street.
“I am here, just taking a stroll.”
“Oh okay. I missed you.”
“I miss you too.”
“I can’t wait to see you again.”
She blushed again.
“Valentine’s day is around the corner.”
“Why don’t we celebrate it in Paris?”
“What?!” She ignored the concerned look a passer-by gave her. She would try not to shout again.
“I am serious.”
“But… Valentine’s day falls on a Wednesday.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“I will send you on an official assignment to France on Tuesday and I will join you in Paris on Wednesday. We will be back in Abuja on Friday.”
He chuckled, “Anything for my Princess.”
“I have several other gifts lined up for you.”
“Yes. See you in Paris.”
“All right Prince Charming.”
“I love you.”
“Love you too,” she hang up and headed for the local suya spot in the area. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Yahuza, but, it was manageable.
She and Keshinro began their illicit affair the day they left Accra for Abuja. She was bent on resisting him, but his charm and seduction had overpowered her. They had crossed a line and there was no turning back. It’s being three weeks and he had showered her with monetary and valuable gifts. She barely touched her salary these days.
Her room-mates had noticed her change of wardrobe and other things, but they had assumed that her salary was doing all the wonders. If Keshinro was single, she would have told them that she had a boyfriend. But, he was married. It was hard to predict their reaction. She had professed her faith in Christ before them a million times, they might judge her if they discovered that she was dating a married man.
No one would understand the battle she had fought for so long. She had tried. God knew how hard she had tried to avoid these circumstances. She had dived into a very deep ocean. Only God could bring her out. The day she gave in to Keshinro was the day she lost her will power to keep fighting him off.
She still loved God. She would love to serve Him for the rest of her life, but, being with Keshinro was like being buried in the sand of pleasure and passion. She was chained and there seemed to be no exit door.
‘Oh God! Oh God! Only you can get me out of this.’
She bought a thousand naira suya from the mallam and started to walk back to the house. She hoped Adaeze had stopped her little squabble with Bachelor. She also hoped that Bolatito was done with whatever she was doing under the pillow. She hoped a meal of suya with bread and beverage would put a smile back on their faces. It might not mend their hearts, but it would definitely fill their stomach.
A week after the Saint Valentine’s day, Promise announced to her room-mates that she would be moving into her own apartment in Wuse as soon as possible. The new two bedroom flat was one of the numerous gifts Keshinro had showered her with during their trip to Paris and to crown it all, he had given her the keys to a silver Honda Element car. She didn’t tell her room-mates about the car because she wasn’t ready to be harassed with questions she wasn’t prepared to answer.
Adaeze was envious as usual, but Kabira and Bolatito were happy for her. They planned to spend the weekend at her new place.
“Abubakar proposed to me yesterday,” Kabira showed them her engagement ring. Promise and Bolatito squealed and hugged her.
“I am so happy for you.”
“Your ring is so beautiful.”
“I wish Bachelor will man-up and proposed to either me or Adaeze instead of flirting with those little girls.”
Promise and Kabira started to laugh.
“I am serious,” she settled on the leather chair.
“Forget that man, he doesn’t worth a Princess like you,” Promise sat beside her.
“I hear you.”
“Promise is right. Your Prince Charming will show up sooner than you think,” Kabira winked at her.
“Hmmm… ” She tried to smile, “I hope he comes sooner.”
“He will come.”
“When is the wedding?”
“The traditional wedding is in October. The church wedding is in December.”
“Wow! You are a lucky girl.”
“I envy you,” Bola folded her arms across her bosom.
Kabira joined them on the chair, “Cheer up babe.”
“Easier for you to say. You are getting married after our service year. Look at Promise’s apartment, it is gorgeous! I have nothing to boast about.”
Promise and Kabira exchanged glances.
“I am glad that Adaeze is not here with us.”
“That witch will just mess up our weekend in this wonderful apartment.”
“She would have started drilling me with questions about Abubakar.”
“She would also have found fault with this apartment. That girl is something else,” Bolatito shook her head.
“I am glad that you girls are here.”
“Yellow Tube must be paying you well. I am happy for you.”
Promise smiled and decided not to comment.
“That reminds me, I saw a new Honda Element when we arrived yesterday. Who among your neighbour owns it?”
Promise cleared her throat.
“Is it a she or a he? Maybe that person is my Prince Charming.”
Kabira slapped her on the thigh.
“What? I am being positive,” she grinned.
Promise watched her former room-mates and wondered if she should tell them that the car was hers. They would get suspicious and start asking questions. She decided to distract them. She would tell them about the car when she felt the time was right.
“I bought a lot of latest movies because of you babes.”
“Where are they?” Bolatito was on her feet.
Promise pointed at the small cabinet under the plasma television. Kabira and Bolatito invaded the cabinet and argued about what movie they would watch.
On her way home from work, she decided to visit the saloon. She had a date and wanted to look her very best. While waiting for her turn, she tried to ignore the loud gist of two women making their hair. She thought of leaving but decided to stay. She didn’t want to be late for her date. It was almost eight in the night and she might not be able to make her hair at any other saloon. She wished her stylist was in town. The sooner he returns, the better for her.
“That stupid man had been cheating on his wife for the past fifteen years.”
“Oh my God!”
“He acts like a good husband at home, he takes care of his family, he is even a Deacon at the church they attend.”
“No wonder she didn’t suspect anything.”
“I don’t know what is wrong with Christians of nowadays. They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.”
“Do as I say, but don’t do as I do.”
“How did she find out?”
“The man told her himself. He wants a divorce. He wants to marry his newest lover.”
“What rubbish! What nonsense!”
Promise couldn’t ignore the women anymore. Their conversation flowed straight to her ears.
“The wife ran to their Pastor, but, the man was bent on leaving his wife. Nobody could change his mind.”
“Men can be so heartless.”
“My point is that he claimed to be a Christian. Was he ever born-again?”
“Some people think that going to church and attending all the services makes them Christians.”
“But it doesn’t.”
“My point exactly.”
“It is so sad.”
“Yes, it is. If you have never at any point in your life given your life to Jesus, you are not born-again. It doesn’t matter if you hold any kind of position in church.”
“True. Some people think that being born into a Christian home makes them Christians.”
“Exactly! You are not a Christian except you are first born-again.”
Promise got up and walked out of the saloon. She got into her car and placed her head on the steering wheel.
‘Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!’
She had forgotten her first love. She had offended God. She had hurt the one she surrender her life to since she was a teenager.
‘Oh God give me strength! Help me to retrace my steps. Where do I start from?’
Her illicit affair with Keshinro was sinful. She had to end it. She had to make things right between her and God. When did she become so blind?
She started the car and headed home.
‘God, I need you more than ever.’
To Be Continued…