THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT…..(18+)…..Part 30


Jide received the answer to his question when he stepped into his house after work hours.The day had officially been his worst day ever, as far as he could remember. After the scene in his office, he had been unable to concentrate on work. One of the firm’s directors had summoned him to give a recap of a project he was in charge of, and for the first time in years, he was flustered and gave a less-than-stellar performance. He had been paranoid, thinking maybe Anitahad used to influence to set a trap for him using the director, but the man had only shown genuine concern for the usually efficient Jide’s blunders. Jide had managed the situation by pleading a slight migraine, and the sympathetic director had given him time to prepare a better presentation for later in the week.He had been grateful to bolt from the man’s office and avoid most of his colleagues the rest of the day, but he had been unable to avoid one person.Florence.She did not address him the few times he had reason to walk past her table, but his guilt made him feel the heaviness of her gaze whenever her eyes rested on him. He was consumed with guilt and shame at the memory of how he had pushed her down and then left her to help herself up. It was highly embarrassing to him to realize that under stress, he had not proved to be a gentleman. The guilt stopped him from apologizing to her or addressing the matter. He merely waltzed past her hurriedly a few times and then left the office with an abrupt goodbye.Since he avoided looking at her, he failed to see the hurt in Florence’s eyes as she watched him leave. The secretary watched him go, eyes smarting with unshed tears as his crisp, departing footfalls seemed to loudly announce that he had no use for her.Florence was also embarrassed, but mostly confused. While she blamed herself for initiating the kiss, and bitterly understood that as a married man, Jide owed her no loyalty, the push had come as an utter shock. His attempts to defend her ‘honour’ to Anita had been a little reassuring, but the initial rejection still smarted. Jide leaving without addressing the issue was like tipping salt into an open wound. What if her roommate was right and she was merely a plaything to be used by Jide, while she was busy labouring under the misconception that he had deep feelings for her? She had never been bold enough to make a move on a man before, and her first attempt had turned out to be a massive disaster. She winced as she remembered how Jide had pushed her away when his lover had walkedinto the office. “Serves me right, anyway.”
Florence muttered to herself as she realized she had only herself to blame. she had no illusions about the state of affairs between Anita Bankole and Jide Babalola, yet she had decide to insert herself into whatever unhealthy love triangle the married Jide already had going on. The memory of the scathing look Anita had given her after she stalked out of Jide’s office make her cringe afresh. She was only relived the woman hadnot stopped to tongue-lash her further. She could have been pushed to respond and that would have been very unwise.Florence’s day was ruined beyond repair, and as she closed up the office and prepared to leave after working hours, she wondered how she would face Jide the next day.At home, the last thing on Jide’s mind was how to face the next day. He was merely hoping to survive a horrible one that seemed determined to only get worse. “Jide, how could you?!” Patricia shrieked themoment he dropped his work bag and stepped into her office to greet her.

When Jide saw his wife’s eyes, red with rage and swollen with hours of crying, his heart dropped. Now he understood what Anita had meant when she told him that day was just the beginning. “So because we had a little bump on the road of our marriage, you decided to betray me like this?” Patricia said hoarsely, shakingher head in disbelief as she raged at him from where she was standing behind her laptop. The light from the screen lit her face up from beneath, transforming her visage into one twisted with anger and hurt. Jide almost couldn’t recognise her face. “You broke your vows!” Even though his heart had already told him that his affair with Anita had been found out,Jide desperately tried to appear ignorant of the cause of his wife’s anger.
“Wait, what? What are you talking about, Patricia? I have no idea…”“Just shut up, Jide!” Patricia shrieked, her voice rising. The glass windows seemed to vibrate with the pitch of her anger and Jide winced, glad they had no neighbours within ear-shot. “Don’t you dare try to make me look stupid. You didn’t marry an idiot! So don’t try to treat me like one.” She twisted her laptop around, turning the screen towards him. “Let me give you a hint. In black and white font. Plus some brightly colored pictures. Now, does this ring any bells, you cheating coward?!” Jide stared at the images on the laptop, his pulse racing. Despite the air-conditioning humming in the office, he suddenly felt like he was standing on a bed of coals. Sweat immediately jumped out on his forehead and he loosened the tie that seemed to be trying to strangle him, his head whirling.Just how was he going to explain this?


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