Taking heed…

Distressed

Lape is what you would call any man’s dream woman. She is a tall size 10 lady, with all the curves in the right places, fair in complexion and to crown it all, very bubbly and down to earth. She is blessed!!

Lape has a degree in humanities from the premiere University and works in the human resources department of one of the prestigious resourcing companies in Victoria Island, Neon Consulting. Her colleagues dread when she has to go on vacation because it seems they are in for a season of gloom; she brings zest anywhere she goes.

Dotun is the lucky husband of this beautiful woman who seems not to know how blessed he is. They are blessed with 3 adorable children and theirs is what one calls a perfect family. Nothing can ever go wrong; or that is what anyone would think.  But lately, both seem to be too consumed with work life that they have forgotten their promise to each other to strike a work-life balance. It had become all about career growth and less of companionship…..

Lape got to the office late one bright Monday morning because her last daughter had the fever and she had to take her to the hospital, rush her back home to the nanny before setting out to work. She would have called in sick or given another excuse and stay home with little Omotola but there is an interview she has got to conduct by 12noon and was happy when she rushed in at 11am, meaning she still had an hour to calm her nerves and prepare for the task ahead.

She totally ignored stares from her colleagues as she slid behind her desk to resume work. Some minutes later, the receptionist calls to inform her that the candidates for the slated interview were all seated. She called on to the other interviewers via the intercom and proceeded to the meeting room where interviews are conducted.

The interview session lasted 2 hours as they had 8 candidates to screen for the position of head-marketing and sales. Eventually, they all agreed that only 2 would be selected to meet the group head the following week. They wrote their recommendations and Lape felt they had done great with the selected persons.

Exactly three weeks after the interview for the head, marketing and sales, a man walks up to her and asks to speak with her, she looked up trying to place the face and then she remembered, he was the successful candidate from the last interview. He stopped by her desk to get some documentation done as regards his new employment offer and also to thank her for finding him worthy of being employed. As was her usual self, she waved his thanks aside and muttered “I am only doing my job and I must say, you actually were better than the other candidates and that is what earned you the position and not me”. None the less, he still thanked her, and they got round to settling what actually brought him to her desk in the first place.  “By the way, my name is Steve”, he said before leaving her desk and didn’t wait to hear her feedback. She just shrugged and went back to her task

Two weeks later, as against its regular way of doing things, Neon consulting announced its plans to hold a dinner party to honor some outstanding staff for the first half of its business year. Everyone was so excited because the recipients of the awards were being kept a secret, even the HR department had no inkling of who the successful awardees would be. Typical of women…all the talks in the office was on what to wear, where to go shop for shoes and dinner dresses. Lape was not excluded in the gist. It was going to be an award night to remember.

Neon consulting also told staff to come along with just one partner each as it didn’t intend to use up all its reserves to fund a party…so everyone planned to come with either a spouse or friend.

The D-day finally came and Lape’s husband Dotun was to accompany her to the party. They had lots to eat and drink and all felt the party should continue forever. Lape was lucky to be one of the recipients of the awards and her husband proudly escorted her to receive her plaque. It was a moment to cherish. She was all smiles and dedicated the award to her colleagues in the human resource department; she would not be a recipient if they had not been supportive of her, she said.

Just before the party ended, Lape excused herself to go to the ladies and on her way back in the hall way, she tripped and almost fell down but was quickly helped by strong hands. She turned to see who it was since she didn’t even notice someone was around and stared into the face of Steve. He had been coming from the gents as well and because his shoes had rubber soles, she didn’t hear him behind her. She thanked him profusely and turned to move and discovered she had sprained her ankle. Steve helped her to her seat and explained what had happened to Dotun who thanked him and took over from him.

Lape got home that night, happy at being recognized by the management of her company and sad that she would have to be away from work for some days due to the sprain. She felt some demons were after her because of the award…but quickly tossed the idea from her mind. She limped to go check up on her kids, kissed their foreheads and went to her room to join her husband.

Lape got series of phone calls when Monday came and she wasn’t in the office, she was elated at the thought of being loved by all. Steve also called her line and she made sure to thank him for his help the other night. Lape got back to the office on Wednesday and as expected, had tons of email waiting to be attended to. She was so busy she lost count of time and just when she began to bother about the rumblings in her stomach, one of the janitors in their office brought her a lunch pack from TFC and said one of the new staff asked her to get it across. And to say it was a thank you gift. She hesitated and told the girl to take it back but her colleagues told her not to, that it would be rude to do so.

But I never asked anyone for food she retorted back. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. But her colleagues persisted and one volunteered to eat from it so that she can be sure there was no black medicine in it…they all laughed and Lape told the janitor to thank the person and to give his name. When she heard it was Steve, a part of her wanted to return it but another part said but it is just a harmless meal of rice and chicken now….couldn’t be that bad! Anyways, her hunger defied any form of reasoning anymore as she devoured the remaining pack of rice.

The next day, she sought Steve out as he was going for his marketing calls and thanked him for the meal but that he shouldn’t send her food again as it would send wrong signals to people around. He said he understood and vowed not to. They both ended the conversation and went to do their work for the day.

For some funny reasons, her mind wandered to Steve and she didn’t know where to place him. Was he just a nice person or he wanted more. She meant to discuss the issue with her husband when she got home but he gets home late and she was already in bed. She only woke up briefly to say night prayers with him and rolled onto her side of the bed and slept off.

Work continued as usual at Neon consulting as everyone was looking forward to the end of the year party and award ceremony. Everyone put in extra efforts at work. It was on such days that Lape, busy with work that her table phone rang. She picked it up and was surprised it was Steve, he had called to find out about some calculations in his last month’s salary computation, there was a deduction he didn’t understand. She took her time to explain to him and even told him to come up to her office if he still wasn’t clear on it. He said he understood and thanked her.

Days later, he called again to find out the company’s policy on having devotions in the mornings as he was thinking of starting one. She was surprised and immediately dropped every reservation she had towards him. She told him the company had no issues with it so long as it doesn’t coincide with work time. He then told her he would like to start it since they didn’t have any. She was in full support and promised to be the first attendee. She confessed that work and family commitments’ has actually affected her prayer life and is happy so that at least she can enjoy fellowship with other brethren in the office and still get to do her work.

And that was how Lape and Steve became best of friends in the office. He also calls her desk phone regularly and they discuss almost everything there is to talk about. He became her confidant. Any day he is out for marketing calls and is unavailable to call, she finds herself missing him and wishing to hear his voice. She didn’t even know she was feeling that way towards him until her colleague joked about it with her. It was then she thought about it…Steve isn’t as good looking as her husband, he doesn’t speak as eloquently, he doesn’t have Dotun’s charm….so what is the attraction? And since she knew Steve doesn’t measure up to her husband’s standard, she felt no harm at all.

They still continued their phone relationship and during the morning devotions, they acted as if all was well but both knew there was an unspoken chemistry between them. Steve would call and tell her how lucky her husband was to have her, how he wishes to someday get married to someone like her and all these talks gets Lape very excited. Sometimes, she locks herself up in the toilet and they continue chatting on the black berry, they say nothing vulgar but she looks forward to such moments chatting alone with him. She never once told her husband about Steve, she felt she could handle him so long as they were not dating and don’t even see outside the office hours.

She gets home and deletes all conversations they’ve had and acts like nothing is amiss. Once sunny afternoon, Steve chatted with her about being a bit bored and would like to go catch the afternoon movie showing at the cinema close to their office and would be back before lunch time was over. He didn’t invite her along but knew she would love to go. Common sense told her to tell him bye but she found herself asking if she could come along as well and when he answered in the affirmative, she told him she would meet up with him there and to buy tickets for her too. She told her colleagues she had some personal errands to run and would be back once break time was over and left the office.

By the time she arrived, Steve was already there and had their tickets in his hands. Lape told him she would rather wait inside the cinema until the movie started for fear of being seen by someone familiar and at a cinema during work hours. He agreed since the movie starts in 10minutes, he went to buy popcorn and drinks instead and she went in to wait. When he was through, he went in as well, sat beside her and the movie trailer started showing.

While she was seated, she felt she shouldn’t be here but felt it would seem childish to get up and leave. She told herself she was only watching a movie and not committing adultery! So she sat back, relaxed and ready to enjoy the movie and saw that it was a romantic movie. Commonsense said to her again to get up and leave but she just couldn’t. The cinema was almost empty because of the time of day it was. She sat there tense and Steve noticed and whispered to her ears to calm down, the movie was for sixty minutes and she would be back to the office soon. She nodded and didn’t say a word.

The movie, the dark cinema, his closeness; everything was getting at her. He brushed his hands along her arm and she felt jitters run along her spine. He didn’t stop, she didn’t want him to. He brushed his lips across her cheeks, ears and neck and she turned her face and their lips met and it was like she has never been kissed before. He seemed to know exactly what to do. His hands started roaming over her body and she didn’t stop him, he started unbuttoning the buttons on her blouse and she couldn’t stop him….and then her phone rang. She knew the special ring tone, it was her husband. She looked at herself and felt like the ground should open….she didn’t pick his call. He called again and this time, Steve had let go of her and with shaking hands opened her bag and picked the call…”where are you dear?” was Dotun’s first words. She couldn’t answer and instead burst into tears…”what is wrong with you? Are you hurt? Where are you?” all he heard was her uncontrollable weeping. Dotun couldn’t imagine what might have happened to his wife. He ran out of his office and started the drive to his wife’s office.

Steve held her to console her and Lape smacked his face with the back of her palms. “It is all your fault” she cried, “but I didn’t force you did I”? He retorted. With shaky hands, she wiped her face, got out a mirror and re-arranged herself then got up to leave. Steve held her hands and said he was sorry. He didn’t know what came over him. ”I can’t deny that I want you but I meant to cause you no harm. Am deeply sorry” Lape stared at him, said nothing and moved past him and left the cinema. She got into her car, tried to calm herself down and finally started the drive back to the office.

As she was about entering the office premises, she saw her husband’s car trying to maneuver in the visitor’s parking space. At that instant, he saw her too. He parked and ran over to where she was. He opened her car door, checked her out and sighed with relief when he didn’t see any physical injury. He thought someone must have died. “What happened”? He asked, “Did someone die”? Lape looked into his face and started crying all over. Dotun then pulled her out of the car and locked it, walked her into his, went up to her office and got a permission that she wasn’t feeling okay, called his office that he wouldn’t be coming back as there was an emergency at the home front. Then he went to his wife and they drove home together. When they got home…with tears and shame, Lape narrated all that had transpired from the very first meeting to the cinema drama.

Dotun was livid with rage but showed calmness that even he could not explain. Lape kept crying that she was sorry and didn’t know what came over her.  Dotun looked at his wife and though still angry at the thought of another man touching his wife yet he said he was to be blamed as well…..He is hardly at home, they don’t have outing times anymore, their prayer life was nothing to write home about, they don’t communicate anymore and it made them drift apart even though they lived under the same roof. If they had talked about it before, what happened wouldn’t have.

Lape also knew she was playing super woman. She had thought the fact that she wasn’t sleeping with him made it no big deal, she thought she could handle her emotions and not go astray. She thought it would be a harmless adventure…

They both re-dedicated themselves to making their marriage work and to always tell the other party what was going on in their lives. They became an accountability partner to themselves. They vowed to put the whole episode behind them and start on a clean slate. Lape felt such a big release of burden off her shoulders and felt brand new again…

She went back to the office the next day and felt as good as new. She had deleted Steve from her contacts and made sure she would only relate with him on official matters henceforth. When Steve saw her the next day, he was shocked to see her stare him in the face squarely and with a triumphant look on her face. He knew he had lost.

Let he that thinks he stand take heed, lest he falls and let us flee every appearance of evil…..

Stay blessed

Author: Oluwakemi

Oluwakemi is an entrepreneur, a blogger, a devoted wife and mother and desires to inspire and enlighten her readers through educative and thought provoking write-ups. She absolutely adores God!

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