September 14th|La Feminine
Mentally, Esohe checked out 30 minutes ago. Her laptop, though, still laid opened atop her desk but she saw nothing of the lighted screen or the folders of her work neatly arranged therein. Her mind was miles away from the office, drifting down paths where memories of Eddie lurked. There was no escaping the constant, consistent thoughts of him. He had taken up permanent residence in her mind, the way he had in her heart.
She thought about him a lot. Everyday. All the time.
No matter how much she tried to crowd them out with other matters – work, Osayu, her mum – Eddie’s image, his words, gestures, those eyes of his, the way he made her feel towards him and about herself made millions of appearances as though informing her of the difficulty in dismissing him without proper thought. He didn’t operate that way; he was one not to forget so easily. Hello withdrawal symptoms.
A couple of times she’d been sorely tempted to call him, send a message. And say what exactly? Sorry? How far had that word taken her lately? When she was unprepared to divulge any more information about her sudden change of heart? Would he even pick up her call? Respond to any message from her?
After their last encounter at the lounge last week, there seemed to be a lull in his communication attempts towards her. Though the roses arrived promptly every other day, the incessant, insistent calls and messages were not what they used to be.
And her heart rebelled against her head.
She wanted to see him again. Hear those smoky tones talking to her. Snuggle in his arms. Be his girl once more. And damn Folarin to hell and back!
Just one little issue though. Osayu. There was Osayu to take into consideration…and her head won the battle.
Her elbows propped up on the table, she buried her head in her hands. She couldn’t continue this way. In suspend mode. At the mercy of Folarin.
The dull hum came first right before the shrill sound of ringing. Her cell phone vibrated beside her left elbow, the sudden intrusion jarring her out of her reverie, piercing the silence of her office.
A landline number beamed on the screen. Her eyebrows creased. Who could this be? She wondered, picking the device off the table. Hopefully not a new advertiser. It was almost close of day on Friday. What possible meaningful conversation could they have now?
“Hello.” Her voice was low, tentative.
“Good afternoon, Miss Eweka.” A raspy, foreign accent – American – flambéed her name to Iwika on the other end. African American accent, she corrected whimsically, still wondering who it was. “My name is Jeff Kimble, CEO of I.N.C. I have here with me Craig Taylor, one of my management staff and your lawyer, Ifeanyi Ofili.” The stranger continued.
“Hello Esohe.” Ifeanyi’s familiar tones travelled though the line to her.
Only then did she relax, her curiosity heightened significantly. “Hi Ifeanyi. Hello Jeff Kimble, Craig Taylor.” She rose and made for the door, twisting the knob to secure the lock once she got there before returning to the table.
“Is this a good time to have a conversation with you, Miss Iwika?” Jeff Kimble continued.
She sat down on her chair. “Yes, it is. What is this about?”
“It concerns some allegations your lawyer brought against one of our employees, Folarin Adelakin, last week.”
She leaned forward and reached for her bag sitting on the table, digging into it for earphones. It looked like she was going to be at the office a little while longer.
“While some of them do not directly relate to us, we reviewed and investigated them all because of his position in our organization….”
“Our main concern is the fraud case he got away with and was able to cover up during our background check before employing him two years ago…”
“Another damning matter is the issue of being married. Your divorce certificate is telling enough. That was the basis for his transfer back into the country…”
“Appalled at his attempted abduction, continued stalking and blackmailing activities towards you. We have listened and analyzed the audio recording as supplied by your lawyer…”
“Horrified that one of our star employees is operating in such an abysmal manner…”
“Copies of our letters stating our displeasure at his behavior and guaranteeing your safety and your son’s as long as he remains in our employ have been handed over to your lawyer and will be sent to you via email…”
“We will be reviewing his position, pending promotion and his presence in this branch in this country pending his attitude adjustment…”
“You do know you have to settle the domestic affair in the courts, Miss Iwika…”
“You have our word; Folarin will be of no more bother to you and your son…”
“Have a good evening.”
Excerpts of the unexpected call from Folarin’s boss trailed Esohe’s drive back to her mum’s later in the night.
Relief. Oh, sweet relief!
Who would have thought Folarin would have been involved in a fraud case at any point in time in his career?! Worth a substantial amount of dollars? Or that his fantastic relationship with his supervisor at the time had helped to not only absolve him but also shielded him from blame, instead making his subordinates take the fall?! Or that karma would catch up with him a few years down in the line in the form of one of those wrong subordinates, willing and ready to bring Folarin down with everything he had? Spilling every and any information about the case, naming names, times and events? Enough evidence to make credible his claims?
For the first time since Osayu’s abduction, she was able to breathe easy. She felt light–headed, like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Immediately after the call, she’d exhaled long and hard. Unaware she’d been waiting to do so since Monday last week. Cuffs, she hadn’t felt digging into her flesh, loosened from her wrists and fell, mercifully, away.
Prayers answered. This was what she’d wanted. A restraint on Folarin from someone who had the authority and power to wield them effectively.
She still did not fancy the idea of visiting courts, but somewhere at the back of her mind, she knew that process was inevitable if she wanted sole custody of Osayu, and Folarin out of their lives until the boy became of age to decide the trajectory of his relationship with his dad.
She’d call Ifeanyi later to broach the subject with him. The earlier they began it, the better for all concerned. It was irrelevant how Folarin felt about it. In her opinion, he cared nothing for Osayu; the little boy was just a pawn in his crazy chess game. Thankfully, Osayu wasn’t developing any solid attachment to his father. He took Folarin on an anytime-I-see-you basis. Which was a good sign.
She was having a good evening so far until two thoughts surfaced: Folarin would definitely not take the recent turn of events lightly. If anything, he’d be yellow at the gills with anger, and hungry for blood at his thwarted plans for a happy, family reunion. She wouldn’t put it past him to retaliate.
The question was: When? Where? How? She had no idea but if he still had her followed, he’d know she was headed for her mum’s.
Whatever confrontation he brought to her, she wanted her family by her side, looking out for her and Osayu when it took place.
She heaved a heavy sigh and swung left under the bridge at the stadium in Surulere.
Had she expected anything else? Victory over her ex and no peep from him? That’d be the day.
Her second thought further tanked her spirits; Eddie…