Friday, 23 May 2014

@30; Single and a Pariah? Part II

Posted by Oyinlola Sobowale on Friday, May 23, 2014 in , | 1 comment

Read the first part here

It was exactly twenty minutes past 7, still no call nor text from the office. Torn between conscience and rationale, Dara decided to appear at work after all with plans of hiding out in the confines of her cubicle- if that will ever be possible on a day like this!

“Ouch” she winced as her hand connected with the water.

It was icy cold. She took her time walking back to the white-walled kitchen to get some hot water. Tempted to read some of the text messages while she waited, musing for several seconds before picking up a random magazine instead.

The clock chimed 8 O’ Clock as she dove for her Gucci bag lying on the cluttered bed and the key to her ‘daddy-lent-me Hyundai’. With a last fleeting look at the hallway mirror, she hoped she made the right choice settling for the teal jacquard box pleat dress clinging delectably to her 5ft9 figure, matching it with a saffron-coloured six-inch stiletto.

 “Ah! Yes, this should signify a happy mood at least” her eyes lingered a tad longer on the puffs still beneath her eyes before placing her rarely worn Zegna Geek chic glasses on.

First Central hotel complex sitting in the suburbs of Osborne Foreshore Estate was just a couple of minutes’ drive from her Lekki home and thankfully, it was a good time to head out on a Monday morning.

8:55 am

Firm smile in place with her glasses still on, Dara made her way through the vast reception with brief nods and perfunctory ‘hellos’ to the front desk personnel. An elevator ride to the 10th floor got her to the office level which housed senior managers. She was lucky to have a space here she knew, Austin fought for his team members to share an office on the same floor with him.

“H...hey”, all four pairs of eyes turned to her at once and chorused.

“Birthday princess, what the heck happened to your you and your phone?” Prisca’s voice ruled the day as she fixed a menacing motherly gaze on Dara with her forefinger pirouetting in the air. The pretty ‘dark princess’ as popularly called was the Client Service executive overseeing the client communications and work flow budgets.

“Awww…I sincerely apologise,” Dara started, going low on one knee. “I honestly don’t know where I dumped my phone. I must have left it somewhere. I can imagine all the calls and messages but why didn’t you try to reach me on my official line?”

“Well, no one even thought about that” replied Beatrice, the third lady in the team of five. “Anyways Happy Birthday love, wishing you EEEEVERYTHING beautiful,” she slurred standing up to give Dara a cuddly hug.

“Happy Birthday” Prisca chimed in…curiosity dancing around in her smoky eyes.

“Happy Birthday my love,” that from Walter. His towering height almost swallowing up Dara despite hers. “I wrote a song for you, you can listen to it as soon as you settle” he winked.

“You all are so sweet, thank you” Dara said as she extended her arms to be pulled in for a bear hug by the last member of the team, Jed. “Anything for you sweets,” Jed whispered back as his breath settled on her ear.

Feet shuffled all around, a signal that it was time to return to work. “Okay. Back to work y’all,” Prisca called out and Dara made her way to her cubicle not exactly surprised to find the lined-up cards but stunned that no one mentioned a waiting cake too.

She chuckled to herself and hoped to God she wouldn’t burst into tears.

“Please has anyone seen Austin this morning?” she called out to no one in particular

“No” was the unanimous response

4:05 pm

Still no sign of her boss. No calls. No message, not even to wish her a ‘Happy Birthday’. No one knows anything. Or is she missing something, she thought. It was nearing the closing hour for her, should she be worried or just plain angry?

4:30 pm

“Hi Ms Dara. Mr Austin is here now”

“Thank you Pat” Dara ended the call quickly thanking the security personnel on their floor level

“I have dialled your number repeatedly with no response,” she said as she took a closer step into Austin’s office. “Why were you not in the meeting with them,” her senses at first lost to the changes surrounding her.

“I resigned”, came Austin’s cool response. Hands in pocket, his broad sculpted back to the wall. The mystique surrounding the persona of the 38-year old at that point was undeniable.

Dara pooh-poohed. “Re…Resigned? What do you mean you resigned?” her senses finally registering the stacked boxes and empty cabinets.

Adrenaline in overdrive

This is the exact reason she hates to become too friendly with the male gender; they are all secretive! Friends, lovers, brothers, all of them! She had heard enough to make her steer clear…

Even after the company-frowned-at dinner dates, the late night movies and the occasional weekend trips together Dara had assumed their friendship had reached a level of openness.

A sudden nous of guilt at the thought of openness. But has she ever been herself? Pensive and resigned, she wondered if Austin knows who she really is…


It was to be his going away party

A party that was to everyone’s knowledge except Dara. A party that could have been altogether avoided?

**to be continued**

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