Night came faster than usual, bringing along with it the half-moon and a clear, dark sky, decorated by twinkling stars.
Below the heavens, cool music could be heard from the home of the Adepojus. They and their invited guests were having a small dinner party in celebration of Mr Adepoju’s new appointment as minister of agriculture. He had earlier carried out some research and written a report on effective ways to make food supply available, so even the poor masses could afford a good quantity at a small price.
Obviously, the president and senators liked his idea and decided he’ll be the best person to carry out the plan.
During the party, Nora was up and about, doing everything possible to ensure that the guests were well served. Although she was extremely tired, she knew she couldn’t complain. No one would believe she hadn’t rested all day. Besides, wasn’t she being paid for her services?
Earlier in the day, after cleaning the house, putting it in order and washing the clothes, she was tired. Feeling happy that she was going to sleep and most definitely would have no time to think about Kay, she showered and prepared for bed. She was just beginning to doze off when Mrs Adepoju called home. Upon answering the phone, she was instructed to prepare a series of meal for the evening party.
“We are having a small, dinner party.” Mrs Adepoju said. “Just prepare a little pepper soup then maybe fried rice or…. oh dear. Look, I trust your decisions, Nora. Prepare anything you feel will be good for a small dinner celebration.”
Yes, ma.” Nora replied, before dropping the receiver and dropping heavily on the dining chair. In a bid to get Kay out of her head, she had worked until mid-afternoon. Now that she wanted nothing more than to rest, she couldn’t. “Oh dear God. I need strength.”
Having no choice but to swing into action, Nora went to the kitchen safe, where Mrs Adepoju normally left a reasonable amount of money, just in case of circumstances similar to the one that had presented itself. After taking the amount she needed, she got dressed and left for the market. Within an hour, she was back and preparations started.
At exactly 6:15 PM, the senior Adepojus came home. Mrs Adepoju was glad to see that dinner was almost ready. The sitting room was well arranged and drinks were chilling in the freezer.
“You’re a lifesaver, Nora.” She said, inhaling the aroma of roasted chicken. “What will I ever do without you?”
Nothing. Nora thought, smiling inwardly. The salad was ready and chilling in the freezer with the drinks. Pepper soup was cooked but slightly opened to cool down. All that was left but almost ready, was the fried rice.
“Let me shower and get dressed,” Mrs Adepoju said, hugging the young maid fondly before leaving for her bedroom.
Nora liked that she could please her mistress. Mrs Adepoju had always been kind to her. The elderly woman made Nora feel very comfortable in the house. Unlike many rich women, she treated her workers with care and respect. It was for this reason Nora had to impress her, even though her tired legs were threatening to give way.
All she wanted to do was rest. But, how could she say it? Besides, it wasn’t anybody’s fault that she worked herself too hard; all in the name of pushing Kay and his tricky kiss adventure out of her mind. If she had succeeded, she wouldn’t feel so bad. She had thought about Kay and the kiss they shared more than she was willing to admit.
“Are you ok?” Kay’s voice interrupted her thoughts. He had come in with Tayo a few minutes after his parents arrived. “You look like someone the cat dragged in.” His tie was loosened at the neck. He probably got tired of it or his neck complained about being strangled.
I think of the devil, and there he is. Nora thought, ignoring the loosed tie. She forced a weak smile. “The cat didn’t drag me in, sir. It dragged me around all day.”
Kay smiled at her humour. “That cat must be powerful.” He said, taking three steps closer.
“Yes,” She sighed. “Very powerful.” He was the cat. The ass hole who didn’t let her rest all day. “Good evening and welcome home. So what can I do for you?” She asked, getting straight to the point. The sooner she attended to him, the sooner he left. And she wanted him to leave. She couldn’t afford to have distractions when there was so much to be done.
“No. It’s the other way around,” he protested. “The real question is, what can I, do for you?”
“Nothing,” Nora quickly replied. The last thing she wanted was Kay’s towering figure hanging around her. “I’m almost done here. You, on the other hand, you need to bathe and have a quick rest, before your visitors arrive.”
“I’m not joining the party, Nora.”
“Why?” She asked, frowning. “Your parents are celebrating.”
“I know.” He shrugged. “But I’d rather stay here and spend the evening with you.”
“But your mum ….”
“I know, Nora.” He waved her remaining words aside.
“Look,” She said, after a brief silence. “You must have ha…”
“Don’t try to chase me away, Nora. Please.” He begged. All he wanted at that moment was to spend time with her. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Besides, he wasn’t asking for her permission. He had spent the whole day thinking about her and especially the kiss they shared.
“I’m not chasing you away,” Nora lied. “I’m only considering the fact that you must be very tired after a whole day’s work.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you,” he smiled. “But all the same, I’ll go upstairs, keep my things and change into something more comfortable. Then I’ll come back here to help you.”
“Suit yourself, sir.” She said, smiling weirdly. Like being tired wasn’t enough. Now she was going to spend the evening with her worst nightmare. Oh God, help me. She thought.
Kay kept good to his word. He was down in no time wearing a blue, knee-level short below a white t-shirt. Although the food was ready, he helped with dishing and serving. Tayo was kind enough; he helped serve drinks from the freezer.
While the fifteen guests and their hosts chatted away happily and drank and ate to their satisfaction, Nora sat at the kitchen dining, catching her breath.
“You badly need some sleep.” Kay chuckled from where he sat, at the other side of the table. His arms were folded across his chest as he watched her.
“It seems I amuse you,” She said, carelessly.
“Not really. I’m just wondering what you spent the whole day doing. Definitely not sleeping.”
“No.” She admitted. “I was working…” So I could forget you. She finished in her thought.
“You should have rested, you know.”
“Is there any way someone can rest in a house full of chores?” She threw up her hands in resignation.
“Hmmm…” Kay sighed, getting up from his seat and moving to stand behind her. “How about you go up to your room and rest?
“You can’t be serious.” She chuckled lightly as her body suddenly came alive.
“But I am serious.” Kay insisted, bending over her.
“Stop it, Kay.” She got up and moved away from him. Although she was tired, his nearness caused her senses to be alarmed as a tingling sensation coursed through her body.
“Wow!” He smiled, then chuckled. “I’m glad we are back to first names.”
“We are back to nothing, sir.” She said, stubbornly.
“Oh common!” Kay said, trying not to feel hurt. Nora was becoming a real pain in his neck. Unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to get rid of her, at least not yet. “Ok. Forget about first names. I want you to rest.”
“After the party, I’ll clean up. Then I’ll rest.” She said, walking further away from him.
Within the next four minutes, they argued like old couples but Nora wouldn’t give in. He could hit his head on the wall if he liked, but she wasn’t going to change her mind. By the way, she was only doing her job.
“You’re stubborn,” Kay said, at last, feeling frustrated by her attitude. She had too much of a strong mind and he wondered if anyone could ever tell her what to or what not to do. He could stay there, arguing with her all night and she still wouldn’t give in. Not even to his plea. Damn! She was such a thorn in his flesh.
“Ok. Do as you please.” He gave up and took his seat.
Nora took her seat too, across from him. The duo observed each other for a while, taking in each other’s countenance.
“But you agree you’re stubborn, right?” Kay asked, his lips curving into a light smile.
“I agree.” Nora nodded, grinning.