Jide had not arrived unusually early at work out of a desire to be punctual or productive. He had just wanted to get away from his unnervingly taciturn wife.His had been one of the first cars to drive onto the premises of the legal chambers and he had quickly made his way through the empty, dim building to his office, wherehe had sat and brooded and eventually drifted into a short, tired nap. Eventually roused by the sunlight on his face and the sound of Florence’s arrival in the outer office, he had listened to her enter the office of his other colleague and had waited with a sense of anticipation for her to walk into his own. To distract himself from his problems, he had played a guessing game.Will she have her hair up or down today? Heels or sandals? Colour of dress?Just after he had decided on
‘hair down, heels and blue dress’, Florence pushed hisdoor open. He had a quiet moment to realize the only thing he had gotten wrong in his guessing game was the colour of her dress before she saw him and gasped,losing hold of the folders in her arms, and he had to stifle a laugh as he calmed her down.Seeing her hair falling over her shoulders in soft curls and the way her brown dress gripped her hips brought back the memory of how she had felt, tasted and felt when they kissed and guilt crawled in his stomach, overla!d with that same curiousity that had let him continue the kiss. But he was determined to make things right if he could. He felt it was unfair to kiss his secretary because of a whim. “Please, sit down.” Jide told Florence again as she hesitated, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an approaching car, pretty eyes ringed by long lashes wide with uncertainty. Jide chuckled softly. “I won’t bite… or kiss.” Florence felt her face grow warm at his words and she quickly settled into the chair opposite his, trying to appear calm. But it was difficult, with his handsome face right in front of her and the small smile dancing on his lips lighting up his eyes. Even the smell of whatever cologne he had used sparingly was affecting her.Jide in turn took a deep breath as the fresh smell of the beautiful woman opposite him reached his nostrils. He felt that curiousity again, that need to suss outexactly what all those appetising smells were. Perfume? Shampoo? Body cream? He pushed down a desire to bury his nose in her hair and cleared his throat. “We have to forget what happened between us in this office, Florence.” Florence felt her newly burgeoning hope deflate in an instant. The last thing she wanted to do was forget Jide and their amazing kiss, but she managed to keep her expression blank. “I apologize for what happened, and I takefull responsibility for it.” Jide continued. He had to look away from Florence before the light dancing in her hair distracted himfurther. “I should never have kissed you the first time, and I see it caused the misconception that I wanted something between us, which led to the second kiss you perhaps felt obliged to give. I should have been more in control of myself and not taken advantage of my position of power over you.” Position of power?Florence thought incredulously.How can he not know that I wanted him as much as he wanted me? “So, I assure you your job is in no danger from me, in case that was why you felt youhad to kiss me back. I love my wife and I am committed to my marriage, so I promise to be more in control of my impulses in future.” Florence felt something replace her disappointment. Anger. Had he just called their kiss the result of an impulse?Jide went on, oblivious of the effect of his words.
“Even though I felt attracted to you,I had to take time differentiate between actual need and want. What I did with you was just taking advantage of an opportunity. I am willing to admit your amazing hair and great body distracted me but… an office tryst between a man and his secretary is the lowest of all lows and I should be able to rise above such behaviour because…” Florence stood up abruptly, stopping Jide’s words. He looked up at her but didn’t see that beneath the polite smile on her face seethed real, raw anger at his words. “That’s perfectly alright, sir. Please, I can’t allow you take all the blame. I was a willing participant as well…”“Still, you’re the woman.”
Jide insisted stubbornly. His eyes skittered over her andfor the first time Florence felt a surge of irritation as his gaze travelled over her b—-t and hips. “It was up to me to decidewhat happened and I apologize.” Florence found the strength to keep her smile as she accepted his apology graciously and walked out of Jide’s office on steady legs, feeling his eyes watching her as she left.Inside the office, Jide heaved a sigh of relief as the door closed. He felt he had dealt with the matter of Florence in a very mature and efficient manner. She now knew not to expect to be harassed sexually by him again and he felt relief and a little pride in the way he had talked to her. Jide planned to stick to his new convictions and control himself around her. And he would have to. With Patricia having some kind of psychotic break and Anita in the background threatening him, Florence Iheanacho was the least of his problems.** **Jide was wrong.At her desk, Florence tried to huff and puff her emotion away in short deep breaths, but the anger kept building up in her till she had no option but to leave her desk and hurry to the restroom.She was happy to find the cool space empty, the whiteness of the tile walls managing to calm her down a bit. But when she stood in front of the wide mirror that bisected the wall above the sinks, she could see the embers of anger smouldering in her eyes. When she held up her hands, they were shaking.How could Jide Babalola, in the space of afew minutes, call what happened between them an impulse, decide as a woman she could not have been a willing party to the kiss and finally declare the idea of a meaningful relationship between them impossible because of her status?“Lowest of all lows.” Florence muttered to her reflection in the mirror. “Just imagine. So being a secretary is the lowest of all lows?” What galled Florence the most was the fact that Jide had absolutely no idea that his words were offensive. She had never felt so objectified in her life. All this while she had thought he was attracted to her because of her brains and their scintillating conversations, but he had only been ‘distracted’ by her hair and body?Embarrassment fuelled the anger in her. Who did Jide think he was to put her downso horribly? Florence bit her lip, blaming life for being hard on her. If her father had been alive to cushion the financial burden in her schooling years, all her hard work would have given her the opportunities Jide got as the son of a rich man. She would have been spared what she considered the insults heaped on her in his office.Florence’s fists clenched slowly. Jide would not get away with making her feel so worthless.** **And so having tasted the forbidden fruit la!d before him several times, Jide succeeded in jumping right into trouble.The popular saying was thathell hath no fury like a woman scorned.Jide had three scorned women in his life. Things were about to get interesting.
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