AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR - VOLUME ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
It was a hot, sunny day in April, and the wind sent a gentle breeze into Lola Adetayo's small office at Da-Vyne Interiors. She smiled as it brushed and cooled her warm face. She was compiling a new catalogue for the company, to showcase their latest collection to their high-profile clientele. She loved her job, which gave her a window into a world of glamour and privilege. It was a pleasant escape from what she felt was a humdrum life.
On occasion, a famous musician or movie star would step into the store, and she'd would get a few minutes to relate with them in order to understand their preferences, and encourage them to utilise their interior design services. She'd actually been entrusted with the job of designing the homes of two famous actors and one politician. It was rather exciting being in a position to tell the rich and the powerful what they should want and being the one to satisfy their taste for the exquisite.
On this fine April's day, Daniel Akunne, a real estate tycoon with properties in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, made his first visit to Da-Vyne Interiors, on the recommendation of a trusted friend. At the reception, he asked to see the Managing Director. When told that the MD was not on seat, and had rescheduled all appointments for the day, he started for the door.
"Can I be of service?" Lola approached Daniel with a radiant smile, as was her custom. She stretched her hand out to him. "Good afternoon, Sir. I am the Office Manager, and I'll be glad to assist you."
Danny took one look at Lola and smiled mischievously. He had only intended to meet the MD, after much persuasion, but he had some time to spare, and he wouldn't mind knowing who this beautiful lady was. "I am Danny," he said, as he took her hand.
"Hi, I'm Lola", Lola said as she retrieved her hand from his firm grip, and put them behind her back. " Would you like to step in my office, or take a look around first?"
"Your office will be fine."
"Ronke, bring tea and biscuits," she instructed the receptionist, as they strolled to her office.
Danny sat across from Lola, and waited for her to settle in her seat. He noticed the photograph of her and another man on her office desk, and immediately shifted his eyes to her ring finger, in search of a wedding band. He was not discouraged when he saw that she was indeed a taken woman. There were no pictures of children, and she clearly was not pregnant, so all's fair in love and war, he thought to himself.
When Lola settled in her seat, she met his gaze, and he smiled innocently. She already knew his type! They were a dime a dozen in her business. She would have to be careful of this one. "So, you have a property to decorate?" she asked.
"Yes, I have 30 new properties that I need decorated," Danny said, leaning in.
"Thirty!" Lola gasped. "Wow, that's a lot!"
"Can you handle that?" Danny asked, with an eyebrow raised. "I need them done quite urgently, and I need a professional."
"Of..of course," Lola stuttered. "We will just need to visit the locations, and discuss pricing, and any preferences you have. Do you have a particular style, will they all be identical, or uniquely different."
"Do you design locations outside Lagos?"
"Yes, we do. But you will have to cover our transportation and feeding costs, and provide accommodation if needed," she replied.
"That's not a problem," Danny said. "How soon can you make a trip. I have five in Abuja and three in Port Harcourt. The rest are in Lagos."
"Our field agents will..."
"I want you," Danny interrupted. He looked at her pointedly, and asked, "You will make the visits yourself, right?"
"Uh...well," Lola fumbled. "We do have field agents for that, so I can man the office. They are very qualified."
"Well, I want the best, and I can see you are very professional, and have an eye for detail...and I always like a personal touch. I don't know your field agents, and I would rather you do it."
"Um, well... I guess. If you insist, it can be arranged."
"Make the arrangements. We can start with the locations in Lagos. I'll be in touch with you tomorrow, so you can come around to the estate," Danny said, standing to his feet. He handed Lola his card. "May I have yours?"
"Sure, sure," she said, as she fumbled in her drawer for her business card. "Thank you for choosing Da-Vyne Interiors".
"It's been a pleasure to meet you," Danny said with a dashing smile. "I look forward to working closely with you."
As he walked out of her office, Lola exhaled and chuckled with glee! Wow, what a lucky break! She and Bolu could really do with the commission from this sale. But she wondered how he would feel about her going on business trips outside of Lagos. Well, whatever his reservations, he would have to get over them, because they needed the money. She was so excited, she thought she would burst. She could hardly focus on the catalogue, so she decided to browse the internet instead for some new ideas for the houses she would be decorating.
Bolu came home to find Lola in the kitchen making dinner. He dropped his keys on the landing table, and pulled off his shoes.
"Welcome home, love", Lola greeted from the kitchen. "How was your day?"
"Uh," Bolu grunted. He made his way to the sofa, and pulled out a side table to rest his leg upon. "Please bring my malt".
"Sure, I'm coming," Lola said, wondering if he was in one of his moods again. He'd become quite unbearable since his accident almost six months ago. Almost everything about him had changed. The once hardworking man had been hit with a major blow, and now moped around like a deflated balloon. He didn't seem able or interested in doing much for himself anymore.
"Here, you go," Lola said, as she served his chilled malt. "Do you need anything else, dear?"
"Where's my dinner?" he grumbled, not bothering to look at her.
"I'm almost done. Sorry it's late. Had a really busy day today..." she said, though he didn't seem interested. He waved her away to get on with it, so she thought she'd discuss her new client over dinner.
Bolu slumped on the sofa, hating his life. Every time he was about to make headway, he always got knocked down. The accident stole three months from his life that he would never get back. His high profile case was taken over by his competitor, Dele Onasanya, who later got the promotion he had been working the last three years to secure! All that hard work shot to hell, and with them, went his plans for a better life for himself and his wife.
Instead of a romantic holiday with Lola, he had to lay bed-ridden for two months, while she waited hand and foot on him like an invalid. He hated that she saw him like that, so weak and helpless. The accident had really knocked the wind out of him, because he didn't know how to motivate himself to do anything anymore. He'd had enough of struggling and never getting anywhere.
Their insurance couldn't cover the replacement for the car, which was written off, so they had to dig from their savings, to add to the measly sum they had received as compensation! With his medical bills added, it was a tough blow on their finances. The only good thing about all the hard work he had put in was that he didn't lose out on any pay. With his sick leave in tact and earned time off, he was fully paid for the three months he took off work to recover. And because he had been so dedicated, his job was waiting for him when he returned.
However, everyone had noticed his change in attitude at the office, but they were all understanding and patient with him, which annoyed him more. He wanted to scream and hit someone, throw things and cry in frustration...but he had to play it cool, and be a man. He had to act like he had it all together, when he was falling apart inside.
He didn't know how to discuss his feelings with his wife. She would simply say, "It is well, God will provide!" Like hell! He thought bitterly. Where was He when the accident stole everything he ever worked for? All his life, he had believed that God helps those who help themselves, well...God wasn't helping him that's for sure... He was well and truly on his own!
Lola brought Bolu's food over in a tray, as they no longer ate their meals at the table. Bolu was more comfortable on the sofa, with the TV blaring to drown away his thoughts.
Lola reached for the remote to turn it down. "I have something to discuss with you," she said, placing a hand gently on his arm.
Bolu looked at her briefly. Did she have a new hair do? She was glowing. "What is it?"
"This estate owner came in today with a big job for us. Thirty properties to decorate! And I've been assigned the whole job!"
"Wow," Bolu said sincerely. How fortunate, he thought. "Really? That's great dear, well done!"
"Yeah, I'm really excited," Lola said. "But, it will mean that I will have to travel to Abuja and Port Harcourt, a few times this month".
"Oh, for how long?" Bolu asked, not too concerned.
"Shouldn't be more than a day at a time. Maybe two days at each location, max" she said, downplaying it. The truth was she didn't really know how many trips would be needed, until she'd made the first one.
"Ummm..." Bolu thought. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. "Which company is this?"
"Danny Premier Estates. Do you know them?"
Bolu shook his head. The name wasn't familiar. "They asked for your personally?"
"Well, yes. You don't mind, do you? We can get a maid to cook and clean, so that you will be well looked after," Lola persisted. "The commission will more than cover..."
"It's Okay," Bolu interrupted. He didn't want to be reminded that he was not able to give her the standard of living she deserved. It was a good break for them, and it would take the pressure off for a while. He wasn't too proud to accept. "I'm proud of you".
"Oh, thank you darling!" she said gleefully, and gave him a peck on the cheek.
Bolu squeezed her hand and smiled. She needed this. They both needed this break. Maybe there was light at the end of the tunnel after all, he thought, but he wasn't going to hold his breath. He picked up the remote and increased the volume, and they finished their meal in silence.
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.eharmony.com