Amanda placed a malt on the side stool and sat a short distance away from Joseph. There was silence except for the constant swirling of the ceiling fan, and soft music from the TV.
“Thank you,” Joseph looked at the malt briefly, before returning his attention the beauty in front of him
“You’re welcome,” She replied.
“How have you been?”
Amanda smiled genuinely, for the first time since she saw him. “I’ve been good.”
Joseph reached for the malt and gulped down some of its content.
After their meeting at N’slayers, they had exchanged contacts, as they had been too overwhelmed to speak to each other. How else would she have known that Joseph was the owner of the place she rented as her new home and business outlet?
The tension and surprise could be felt, even the agent had to ask what the problem was. Joseph had simply explained that she was his longtime friend who he lost contact with some time back.
It was only a day since their meeting at N’slayers. Amanda was busy attending to a client’s order via her online platform when Joseph called to tell her he was coming over.
Now he was here, sitting in front of her. She couldn’t help but admit that he looked really good, except for the dark circles under his eyes. Definitely, he had been stressed. Stubbles sat on his chin instead of the normal clean shave she was used to. Simi’s matter had taken its toll on him.
She wanted to run her hands against his cheeks, to let him know it will be ok. But she didn’t want to be too forward.
“So how have you been?” she asked.
“Great!” He emptied the malt bottle before putting it down.
They lapsed into silence again. It was a while later he spoke again.
“I’ve missed you, Amanda.”
Amanda looked up to find him staring intently at her. It was the kind of look he wore when he was serious.
“Me too,” she replied truthfully.
“I searched everywhere for you. I even went to where you used to live, but..” Pain flashed across his face.
“Never mind. I just want you to know I’ve really missed you,” he sighed like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, “so, what have you been up to?”
“Business. I run a perfume and Cloth business now. And of course, you have to patronize me before you go”
They both laughed. Then silence again
“I’m so sorry about what Tony did to you,” he swallowed, “I didn’t see the video recording until after you left. I was wondering about the reason for your resignation, and the video gave me all the reasons. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”
“Tony did ask me out but I told him I wasn’t interested. Then he began harassing me. And I thought you knew about the abuse but decided not to speak. What happened, Joseph? Why did you prevent me from coming to you, even to submit my reports?”
Joseph sighed again. “I didn’t want to bother you. You already gave me the impression that you wanted nothing to do with me because of Simi. I know I wouldn’t stop coming to you if I allowed any level of closeness. And I didn’t want to bother you. So I–I kept the distance,” he finished, looking her straight in the eye. “I wouldn’t ignore if I knew someone was harassing you. I…you, hold a special place in my heart. Look, I still have the CCTV recordings of what transpired, in case you want to press charges.”
Amanda’s brows shot up in surprise. She never thought he would go to the point of saving all the evidence she could use against Tony.
“Thank you so much, Joseph,” she reached for his hand, “It should help, if I ever decide to go that way.”
They stared at each other now. Both of them, unable to break away from their gaze. It was Joseph who first moved in and took her lips in his. It was a soft, wet and inviting kiss that quickly turned to a passionate one. Amanda found herself kissing him back and even matching his own passion as they got drowned in each other’s sweetness.
He pulled her closer until she was sitting on his laps. The kiss deepened and his hands caressed the length of her back, and then her thighs. Amanda ran her finger over his stubble now, as she let herself be carried away by the intimacy.
They soon pulled apart, with each of them panting for air.
“I love you, Amanda. I’ve spent days thinking about you and I know that I can’t deny what I feel for you. I’ve just come to terms with my feelings and am here now; never going to run again.”
Amanda smiled and planted kissed all over his face before pulling back to look at him. “I didn’t reject you when you told me about Simi. I was just stunned and didn’t know what to say, and I needed to seriously think about my next step. But, after I discovered I couldn’t reach you, I felt you had moved on. I felt wrong. And I’m so sorry,” she liked him lightly, before getting off his laps.
“There is something I need to tell you though,” her face grew serious. If a relationship was going to happen, she needed him to clear his problems first.
“What is it? Hope not something bad?” he looked anxious.
“I will say good. Not bad. You’re not the father of Simi’s unborn child.”
Amanda watched his eyes expand and then squint in seriousness. He slumped back into the cushion. “How? I mean how did you get to find out, because even I am not sure any longer.”
She took his hand and sat by his side. “A friend of mine who happens to be her lawyer mentioned it to me. It’s better you ask to do a DNA test with your own doctor.”
Joseph sighed and nodded in agreement.
“I thought as much, but…” he looked up at her again, “thanks, Amanda. What can I even do without you? I love you and I mean it. I will make sure I put an end to this mess”
Amanda nodded in agreement. A smile played on her lips because she was glad they were finally getting along.
“Meanwhile, where were we?” He stood up to close the distance. And this time he kissed her with full assurance.
It was in the evening of the third day that Joseph finally made his way into Simi’s popular entertainment office. He sighted a few cameramen at the entrance of the building. But then, he wasn’t ready for cheap attention which was why he used a phase cap and a pair of sunshades to conceal his look.
As soon as he got into the building, he heaved a sigh of relief. The cameramen, or better still, pressmen, hadn’t recognized him. He marched towards Simi’s office and stopped to acknowledge the secretary who had asked if he had an appointment with the boss.
Joseph took off his glasses now, revealing his identity. The lady gasped, smiling sheepishly. Joseph almost chuckled, he knew he had such effects on women. But his heart belonged to another.
The girl had his heart and she simply didn’t know how much in love he was with her. Somehow, he felt at peace ever since they made up and started seeing each other again.
“You can go in now sir.” The secretary said.
He murmured a ‘thank you’ as he made his way to Simi’s office. The popular blogger was behind her desk, as usual, scribbling something down. She looked up briefly, then back to her work.
“Hello, baby daddy. I wasn’t expecting you.”
Joseph noticed her voice lacked enthusiasm, and she had dark circles beneath her eyes. If it hadn’t been that she was pregnant he would have thought that she was also getting tired of fighting.
“Hi, Simi. How have you been? You don’t look great by the way.”
Her head shot up and a surprised look seemed plastered on her face. She put her pen down and sat up straight.
“I assume you’re here to start your responsibilities? You can start by buying baby things.”
“No, I’m not here for that.”
“Then what,” she rolled her eyes.
“I’m here to re-emphasizes on the fact that I’m not the father to your unborn child and you know it. So I’m asking for a DNA test, carried out by a neutral doctor. I invited the press already and it would be done live on TV.”
Simi laughed until she coughed.
“Wait. What do you call our lives? Uhm? Keeping up with the Kardashians? Answer me, Joseph!” She yelled and really looked frustrated.
“Look, I just came to give you the date. It’s this Friday, by 3:00 pm at the Lagos State General Hospital. If you’re not there, the entire public will conclude you lied from the start.”
“And why will the public conclude like that?” she smirked like she had something up her sleeves.
Joseph took two steps forward. “well, because I already paid bloggers as well as online and offline news media, to trend #DNAtestwithSimi. So even your die-hard followers will be expecting you to be there. If I really am responsible for your pregnancy, then we should know once and for all.”
Joseph smirked triumphantly, as he watched the colour drain from her cheeks. He didn’t want to make her suffer, but she brought this on herself the minute she involved the media.
He started to walk out of her office when he heard her scream. “Is it a crime to be in love with you, Joseph? Huhn? Is it? ” she kept yelling even after he closed the door behind him and started towards the exit of the building. He had some shopping to do, as he was cooking for Amanda tonight and nothing, not even Simi, could ruin his date
To be continued…
A Pelleura Story – Chapter 14. Written by Funmi Akintade
First published on Business Day Media
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