Monday morning brought with it, fear and uncertainty. As she wore matching outfits, Amanda wasn’t sure if going back to work at JExpress was a nice idea after all.
Over the weekend, she had discussed Joseph’s surprise visit and his proposal with Ella and Brenda. While Ella had encouraged her to go back to work, Brenda had stood against the idea.
“What if it’s all a trap?” She asked.
“It can’t be a trap,” Amanda reasoned, “if it was he would have attacked me when he came visiting.”
“Maybe someone’s presence prevented him from doing so.”
“There was no one. My neighbours were …,” her voice trailed off as she remembered.
“Were?” Brenda urged.
Amanda sighed. “My neighbours were away. But the Uber driver I hired was around.”
She watched Brenda’s lips curve into a smile of triumph.
“Why do you hate men so much?” Ella cut in. Amanda knew the question was because of Brenda insisting that she sued Joseph.
“Nothing,” Brenda made a face, “they’re just terrible people that’s why.”
That didn’t sit well with Ella. She went on to tell Brenda men weren’t the only ones who engaged in sexual harassment and actual rape. Women did too.
While they argued. Amanda made up her mind. She’d return to work the following Monday, after all, she needed a source of income.
Now dressed and set for the day, she left the house early enough to beat Lagos traffic.
Some of her colleagues, the ones who heard the commotion in Joseph’s office that fateful day, looked really surprised to see her.
“I thought you weren’t coming back,” one of them asked.
Amanda smiled at him and said her good morning before walking off. She didn’t owe anyone an explanation.
She, however, spent more than half the day wondering what must have happened in her absence. Apart from those who knew what had happened, the others seemed completely ignorant of the reason for her absence.
On several occasions, she’d been told these words, “Welcome back! The leave must have done you a lot of good. You look fresh!”
The only person who wouldn’t let her be was Tony. She didn’t know if Tony was mocking her in some instances when he made snide remarks like, ‘all these top prostitutes have now graduated to sleeping with their bosses’.
She always wanted to talk back to him and remind him of the incident. Did he not see her struggling in Joseph’s arms? If she wanted to have a quickie with her boss, she would have done it without a second thought. She wondered why people would simply jump to conclusions even after seeing the truth
Certainly, Tony would never agree to help in prosecuting the boss. Seeing as things were going, she felt it would be better to agree to Brenda’s idea of a lawsuit. But she’d be suing Tony if he tried to rub her name in the mud.
Since she resumed work, Amanda had not set eyes on Joseph. It was Wednesday already and he was yet to show up at work. She knew he always came to the office because she always heard Tony say something about the Boss sending him on errands.
Tony, however, had suddenly made it his duty to always go to her office un-announced
“You think you’re the only lady?” He asked. Shutting the door behind him.
Amanda looked up; startled. She didn’t hear the door open.
“Tony, what are you talking about?”
“You. I’m talking about you. You think you’re the only one the boss has ever and would ever sleep with?” He eyed her.
“What! Are you kidding me right now? What makes you think I slept with him? I didn’t sleep with the boss!!” Amanda yelled.
“If you didn’t, why then has he been helping you? First from the post of a cleaner, to an accountant. The next was to his personal accountant all within a few months! I’ve been in this company for three years and he didn’t even deem it fit to promote me,” he laughed bitterly throwing his head backwards.
“And you know what? The nitwit boss is a woman monger. Jumping on anything in a skirt. For example, you. I’m disappointed in you, Amanda, because you didn’t hesitate to give him what he wants. You’re not the only girl he has ever done this to you know. The last lady didn’t spend more than three months before he fired her.”
Amanda’s head suddenly pounded. She felt perspiration. This was her fourth month in the company. Did it mean that Joseph would fire her like other ladies he’s been with?
“And to think I liked you at first…” He muttered, not knowing he had just dropped another bomb on her.
Amanda remained speechless for about 15 seconds, after which she found her voice,
“You liked me?” Amanda looked at Tony’s surprised face. It seemed he wasn’t expecting her to hear that.
“Uhnm yeah,” he admitted since the cat was already out of the bag.
I still do. Just that the Boss always takes what I want….”
He kept talking, but Amanda had turned him off in her head. He was starting to get creepy. He was a handsome young man but he looked like a man that would never want his woman’s progress.
“Can you just leave the files on my table? I have work to do”. She cut him short.
He eyed her, smirked and winked at her before placing the files he was carrying, on her table. “We can talk more about this later.” He said, and left.
Amanda wondered why handsome guys these days looked nice on the outside but were pretentious snakes waiting to devour their prey. People like Joseph and Tony werewolves in sheep’s clothing. She decided she’d have to be careful where they were concerned.
The intercom rang then. Amanda paused when she saw the office that was calling in. She took a deep breath before answering.
Joseph turned his chair around to face the window behind him. His mind had been on Amanda all day. He had tried to distance himself away from her which was why he stayed two days without strolling down to her office. He wasn’t sure if he could go through the third day without seeing her again.
What was wrong with him? Why did he care if he saw Amanda or not? He shouldn’t care. Ladies like her just end up walking over a guy’s heart like Karen did, no matter how much you love them. She was the life of his life. But heck! She jumped in bed with his friend and mentor.
Even when she was caught red handed and forgiven, she went on to act like forgiveness was her birthright.
Joseph shook his head. He didn’t want to remember his past. He turned around to get back to work when a knock at the door caused him to look up.
Amanda walked in, looking like one of those magazine models. He had almost forgotten he called her to his office. Seeing her in a red blazer was beginning to ignite some wild feelings.
“You called me, sir?” She swallowed.
Joseph’s heart sank. Sir again? Why was she being formal?
“Yes. It’s about the files…Tony…he brought.. the files,” he stuttered. “fuck it,” he muttered, ” look, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I made you pass through a terrible experience last week.”
He didn’t know if Amanda was surprised because she didn’t show it. In a way, it irked him. It was what he hated about women. They pretend to be dumb about things that are pretty sensitive. It was a big deal to him because he never says sorry not even to his own parents.
“Why aren’t you saying something? I just apologized.” He queried.
“I did. I just nodded. Sir.” She feigned innocence.
Joseph was angry. He didn’t like the sir she had added. He felt like she was trying to mock him. “Please drop the sir. I told you when you’re with me, I’m Joe or Joseph”
“Alright. Sir.” She looked unperturbed
Joseph sighed. She was trying to be stubborn. “Please be ready by7 pmm on Friday. I will be taking you out. Wear something comfortable.”
She frowned now. “I’m sorry, sir. I won’t be available Friday night. I have an appointment to keep.” She said.
Joseph laughed dryly. He didn’t know the game Amanda was playing, but he was not backing down. “Didn’t know you have a boyfriend.” He smirked watching her reaction.
Amanda hesitated before smiling.
“Look, Amanda, it’s a harmless night. Just this once,” he didn’t want to sound like he was pleading. But that was actually what it is. He wanted to see her again, but not in suits and blazers.
“I would be busy sir.”
Joseph couldn’t believe his ears. It was either Amanda now hated him, or she had a boyfriend. Whichever it was, he was determined to find out. He ended their discussion and dismissed her before pondering on his Friday plans.
To be continued…
A Pelleura Story – Chapter Five. Written by Funmi Akintade
First published on Business Day Media
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