Promise and Kabira locked their apartment and got into the cab waiting for them at the gate. The driver hurled their luggage into the boot of the car and headed for the airport.
“What time is your flight?”
“Four. When is yours?”
“Three,” Promise leaned closer to the window and gazed out.
“I am so glad that I am heading back to Jos. A month in that city is totally worth it.”
Promise looked back at her, “You are lucky. Yellow Tube is resuming in three weeks time.”
“I don’t envy you at all.”
Promise’s phone began to ring. She checked the caller’s ID, it was her boss. She glared at the phone. ‘Why can’t this man leave me alone? Why can’t men take no for an answer? This man should stop stressing me.’ She had succeeded in avoiding him for five good days. He had tried calling her a few times, but she refused to respond. He had sent her text messages concerning the Paris trip, but she had also ignored his messages. She had thought he would back off, but, this wasn’t the case. The phone kept on ringing.
“Won’t you pick your call?”
She shook her head and leaned closer to the window. She had been approached by married men in the past, but she had always said no. It was wrong to date a married man. It was against her faith and believes. It was also morally wrong. If she decided to have an affair with a married man, whoever she married would definitely cheat on her. Whatever one sow, one would reap.
Kabira stared at her. Promise was the closest to her among her room-mates. She had been acting kind of far-off and detached for the past few days. She hoped all was well with her. The holidays would definitely do her good. They all needed time off work. The past three months had been very demanding.
They arrived at the airport and the cab driver pulled their luggage out of the boot. Promise and Kabira hugged and went in different directions.
Promise located Aero Contractors counter and joined the short queue. Her phone began to ring again. She checked the caller’s ID and hissed. The sooner she was out of Abuja, the better.
She heard her name.
She turned and looked around. Who was that?
“Promise… Hello… Over here! ”
She saw someone waving his hand. She narrowed her eyes and saw a six-foot tall broad-shouldered fair-skinned man standing at a distance, clad in a pair of white shorts and skin hugging black tee-shirt. She swallowed hard, it was her boss.
‘What sort of man is this? God where are you?’
He approached her and her heart did a somersault.
‘God please come down. Come down now!’
“Heading back to Lagos?”
She nodded and avoided looking at him directly.
“Come with me to Paris. We will leave tonight and be back in two weeks time. That leaves you a week to visit your family.”
She met his intense gaze with a scowl.
I know you like me too,” he brushed a hand over her face. She backed away immediately, as if she had just been stung.
“Don’t touch me,” she eyed him and tried to still her racing heart. He was right, she did like him. She had been attracted to him since the first time they met. She was a sucker for fair, tall men. But he was married and he was fifteen years older than her. If he was still single, she would have waved off his age and dated him, but he wasn’t.
“Promise, why do you want us to suffer? We like each other. We need to be together.”
She threw a glance at the dwindling queue at Aero Contractors counter.
“I am falling in love with you. I want you. Every night… Thoughts of you fill my head. I can’t sleep anymore. I am a mess… I feel like a teenager longing for his sweet heart,” he reached out for her, but she stepped away from him and pointed a warning finger.
Keshinro ran a hand through his clean-shaved head. He didn’t know how else to convince her. If she refused to follow him to Paris, his holidays would be totally ruined. He might take his wife and children, but he won’t be happy. This wasn’t the first time he was cheating on his wife, but, this was the first time he was feeling this way for any woman.
Promise held on to her luggage. ‘God, I am physically attracted to a married man. My service year will be completed in nine months. I don’t know if I will be able to stay in Yellow Tube if my boss continues to harass me. Please help me God,’ she prayed within her. She needed a solution fast!
A female voice announced the flight to Lagos. The sound of her voice filled the hall.
“That is my flight, I have to go.”
“Promise,” he reached out for her hand and drew her close. She gasped in surprise. Her luggage slipped from her hand and fell on the tiled floor. She tried to free herself but his grip on her tightened.
‘What has gotten into this man?! He must be out of his mind. How can he hold me like this in public? He is married for Peter’s sake. He is so shameless!’ Her angry gaze drilled into his pleading stare.
“Promise, my love. Come with me to Paris.”
“You are a married man! What is wrong with you? Your wife and children are at home and you are here holding unto what is not yours.”
“Please, please give us a chance… I know you feel the same way about me.”
“Cut the crap! I have had enough of this… This has to stop sir… Please leave me alone,” she pushed him away, picked up her luggage and walked straight to Aero Contractors counter. She checked-in and was given her boarding pass.
Keshinro sighed heavily, turned around and headed for the exit.
The noisy sound of fireworks woke her up with a start. Promise got out of bed squinting her eyes. She staggered towards the window, pulled away the curtain and flung it open. Hot sun rays flooded her vision. She shielded her eyes with both hands and peeped to see what the noise was all about. A group of children were engaged in a battle and their only ammunition was fireworks. She cursed under her breath and shut the window.
“Merry Christmas!” Prince and Gift dashed into her room without knocking, bearing a tray of club-sandwich and a mug of steaming beverage.
She ignored them and returned to bed. She was bent on going back to sleep. She was tired and her bones ached. She had helped her mother to cook the other night. She had, had only three hours of sleep so far. She needed more.
“Promise, mummy sent us to give you your breakfast in bed,” Gift approached her elder sister.
“I am not interested. I want to sleep,” she pulled the blanket over her head.
She glanced at her brother and he shrugged. They placed the tray on a stool beside her bed and tip-toed out of the room.
“Why is she so tired?”
“She cooked with mum last night.”
“So? She used to do that before.”
“I guess the fact that she hasn’t done it in a while is… I guess she is just tired.”
“Hmmm… You women!” Prince snorted and headed for the dining room.
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Gift hurried after him.
Promise got out of bed again and shut the door. She heard everything her siblings said. She yawned and stretched. Why was she so tired? She walked back to the bed and picked up the tray of food. She wondered where her mother got the strength from to prepare breakfast after all the cooking the other night.
‘God give me the strength to do what needs to be done when I am married. It will not be funny if I am too tired to take care of my husband and children. If my mum can do it, so can I.’
She bit into the sandwich. ‘My God! This is heaven.’ She took another bite and munched with relish. It was good to be back home. She wasn’t looking forward to returning to Abuja. She hoped the remaining months of her service year will come to an end with speed.
She had not received any calls, texts or emails from her boss since she left him at the airport four days ago. It had been a relief, but, it had also scared her. She wondered if he would pay her back for rejecting him. What if he made her remaining months in Yellow Tube miserable? What if he doesn’t stop disturbing her? She might quit and return to her first place of primary assignment. She doubt if she could stomach anymore harassment from him.
‘God please take control. Please take perfect control. I need you now more than ever.’
Gift found her sister seated on a cane chair outside the house, munching at a piece of chicken.
Promised looked up at her and smiled.
“I guess all the hard work paid off after all.”
She chuckled and sipped at her drink.