I was about offering my rebuttal when I heard someone call my name. Even in a dream, I recognized Nora’s voice. When I looked up, I almost fainted. She was standing with Yinka. It seems they were headed somewhere.
“Ego? Charles?” She drawled, trying effortlessly to mask her discomfort.
“Hello cousin, I see that you were having a nice time with someone.” This was Yinka speaking, but he ignored me completely. I felt embarrassed. I was lost.
Nora stepped in and shifted close to me.
“Nawa for you o babe. You fall my hand big time. You should have called me, instead of showing up at my work place in rags.”
My blood thumped. Everything in me stood still. Did Nora derive a special kind of pleasure from putting me down? We were supposed to be best friends! I felt embarrassed that she would speak to me like this and in the hearing of Yinka and Charles.
As if he read my discomfort, Yinka grabbed my hand and led me towards his room. I hated Nora’s behavior more. How could she talk to me like that?
This was too much for me to bear. It seemed Yinka had heard, well her voice was loud and clear.
“I asked her to come. We have a business appointment. You can come with me, I’m going for a short break.” Yinka tilted his head towards my direction. When our eyes met again, I felt my blood rush.
“Um…” I stood speechless.
“I came to see you Yinka. You haven’t even said a word to me, yet you are inviting Ego for lunch. That’s not fair cousin, you should treat me better.” Charles whined like a spoilt child.
Please remind me why I dated him again? He sounded so pathetic.
“I agree with Charles, whatever appointment you had with Ego can wait. His’ is more important.” My friend chipped in, while firing me a deadly look. I ignored her completely.
Yinka did the unthinkable. He straightened his suit and grabbed my left wrist.
“We can always see some other time Charles.” He winked and led me out of the elevator. He took me to what seemed like a private kitchen.
I was going to have a lot of fun!

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The room was spacious and airy. It smelt of fried eggs and turmeric. There were two long brown couches; an expensive looking carpet, a chandelier which drooped down from the ceiling and a large glassy table.
At a corner, I could spot an oven, a stack of plates, a cupboard and a tray of glasses. I was curious. What was this mini culinary department doing in a big organization like this? Obviously one couldn’t feed all the workers from this small kitchen.
I didn’t know Yinka was watching.
“You shouldn’t have ignored your cousin.” I took the couch opposite his’. Though I hated Charles for what he did to me, I wasn’t happy that Yinka ignored him. How could he treat his cousin that way?
Yinka scoffed, “It’s obvious that you have a little history with my cousin. Tell me Ego, why do you allow people trample on your worth?”
I found it hard to believe what had just happened. How could a man like Yinka pick interest in someone like me? This was definitely more than the perfume. I guess Yinka wanted something else from me. I’d found it very difficult to sleep at night. So many things ran through my mind. Did Yinka like me? Was he trying to get closer to me, so he could know more about Nora?
“I…I don’t understand,” I stammered. The stream of his black eyes called out to me; I fought hard to avert his penetrating gaze, he bored into my soul, into my mind. The more I tried, the more my strength left me. For some seconds, it seemed the world had stopped, and it was just I and Yinka that were left in the room.
Images of the text messages that I had seen in Nora’s phone haunted me like a nightmare. I had just met Yinka, but it seemed like he had known me all my life. I was a good person, many people had confirmed this. But whenever I looked away, these same people would be the same to hurt me. Nora was like a sister to me, but she had no problem sleeping with my ex, even while we were dating.
“You understand, you just don’t want to think about it. You see…” Yinka rose to his feet and walked over to the cellar, where some wine bottles were stacked. My mouth felt dry. I wasn’t used to sharing my personal stories with people that I didn’t know well.
Yinka grabbed a bottle and two wine glasses, “You don’t want to face the truth. You strike me as a nice person, but you need to stand up for yourself, sometimes.” He returned to the long couch.
“I always stand up for myself,” I countered.
Yinka scoffed, “Really? I wish you had done that when your friend had spoken rudely to you. It seems to me that it wasn’t Nora’s first time of bashing you in public. I perceive a very unhealthy relationship between you.”
He fetched a corkscrew from the table and opened the wine. The pop sound of the cork startled me, but I regained composure immediately. Yinka was right, my friendship with Nora was toxic. But what did he expect me to do? I couldn’t move out of the house without a concrete J-O-B!
“I thought you invited me to see you because you wanted to buy some perfumes. I didn’t know it would be about my personal life.” I was attracted to Yinka, at the same time, I was wary of men. If Charles could be with my best friend, not caring about my feelings, men weren’t to be trusted.
He emptied the wine into the glasses and offered one to me. I accepted it. His finger brushed against mine, and I small fire was ignited. I felt embarrassed as my thoughts trailed south. I began to wonder what type of a lover that Yinka would be. Would he be gentle? Would he be considerate? Would he be all the things that I’d always wanted in a man?
“Ego?” His deep voice rumbled, and propelled me to reality. My thoughts had gone far.
“Um, thanks for the wine.” I quickly swallowed the sour drink.
Yinka unbuttoned his jacket and pulled it off. He placed it on the arm of the couch and crossed his legs. I couldn’t help but notice his leather shoe. It was authentic. This guy had class! I see why my friend was bent on finding a way to get a ring.
When he was done sipping, his eyes fell on me. This time, the glass almost tumbled from my hands. Okay, I don’t know what is happening to me. Maybe is the wine, but I am really self conscious.
“I know you may not believe me or take me seriously, but I don’t like running in circles. I am a man that knows what he wants. From the first day I set my eyes on you, I liked you instantly. I don’t know if you feel the same way about me, but I’d love for us to start something.”

To be continued…

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