The first time you met up with him for lunch, it was a disaster. It was also the last time. You promised yourself that you would not attempt it again. He was taking calls and replying messages the entire time you were together and it was most annoying. It was supposed to be a date- or at least you thought it was- yet it looked like some business meeting with you, him and the host of other people who kept interfering.
He barely touched his meal and he encouraged you to keep talking about yourself. He wasn’t even listening. He was distracted the entire time. Yet if you stopped talking for a minute, he would ask you to continue, with a smile that you found both charming and irritating at the same time. It was really, really annoying. So after about an hour, you decided you’d had enough and you told him you needed to go. He raised a finger to hush you mid-speech and quickly typed out a text on his phone.
You were infuriated at this point but you bit down on your lower lip and said nothing. The anger management classes you had been taking over the past few weeks were responsible for your calm. When he was done texting, he looked up and smiled.
“I’m sorry for all the distractions. It was really nice hanging out with you. We should do this again.”
You smiled politely and nodded, all the while vowing in your heart that you would sooner hang yourself than hang out with him again.
It’d been four months and you two had not communicated. Other than a singular phone call and a couple of messages from him which you ignored, he had not reached out to you again. And you were fine with that. Really fine with it- until you walked into your office on Wednesday morning to find him sitting calmly at the reception.
It was the most surreal thing. You felt liked you’d been sucker-punched by Floyd Mayweather. Your heart began a sprint, each beat faster than Usain Bolts’ paces. You stood there for a few seconds and then he lifted his head and smiled.
“Hey you! Good morning!”
Your cheeks spread out in what was meant to be a smile but your face ended up looking like a badly wrecked car.
“Wow. You look pale. Did you get any sleep last night?”
You wanted to hiss but your face was still stuck in that awkward expression and you instantly realized you were tired. Of course you looked pale. You had spent almost three hours trying to get to work, many thanks to all the tankers on the road from Surulere to the island. And you did not have any makeup on. And your head was pounding.
“What are you doing here?”
He looked really good though. White shirt tucked nicely in blue denim trousers and a brown blazer. It was not so much what he wore as how he wore it. He was hot and he knew it.
“I came into town last night and I thought I’d come surprise you this morning at your office.”
“How did you know my office? How did you even get here?”
He chuckled softly and stood up. It was when he walked up to you that you realized that the amazing scent that had positively assaulted your senses from the doorway belonged to him. He was standing dangerously close to you with a coy smile on his face. He raised a hand to your face and you thought he was about to stroke it but he took your laptop bag off your shoulder instead.
“You mentioned it the last time we had lunch. And I found the address on Google.”
You can’t even hide the shock on your face. It’s clear as water in a spring.
“What? Did you think I wasn’t listening that day?”
You nod because there is nothing else to do. Your heart is still racing and breathing is suddenly difficult. That smile is still on his face but it becomes even wider.
“You have three siblings. One is married, the other stays with you in Lagos and the last is still in school. You’re a writer. You’ve written screenplays and that’s pretty much what you do when you’re not doing your 9-5. You love to travel and you’re a self-confessed talkaholic. Actually, I loved the way you said it that day.”
Your eyes are popping and you can’t even speak.
“How am I doing so far?”
You shake your head and blink your eyes and then you smile and splutter and he’s just watching and smiling.
“Alright hotshot. So you were listening. But that does not mean I have forgiven you for being a jerk that day.”
“I figured. No word from you in four months. I’ve been really busy, but yesterday, I saw someone that looked like you. I walked up to her to say hi but it wasn’t you and so I decided to take the last flight out last night and be the first person you see at work this morning.
You seem like a really great person and I’d like to really get to know you better. Can I make it up to you? Dinner?”
You laugh weakly and cover your face in your right hand. This is all too surreal.
“Please? I can only be here for a couple of days. My dad would kill me for wrecking his business if I stay out here longer. So dinner tonight?”
You’re laughing softly and shaking your head.
“Come on. Please.”
And despite the warning bells going off in your head, you smile and say
“Tomorrow night. I’ve got a lot to do today and I’ll be working late.”
He grins boyishly and steps back for the first time.
“Thanks. I can work with that.”
You smile back and you retrieve your laptop bag from him. He says he has to run off and you nod in understanding. Then you place your forefinger on the scan and once it reads your print, you open the door and walk into the general office smiling like Christmas came in May. Apparently, it did.
This is trouble. You already know it. But you can’t help it.