SILENT CRIES - Episode 2

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the girls in the bank, got married three years ago, the advisory board meeting, with new found determination, history of armed robbery, my branch manager, the procurement schedule template, raced back to her desk.


“Ahem!” a voice said behind them. It was Ikenna, her colleague.

She hurriedly released herself from Ayo's grip.

“I will see you later, okay Ijeoma?” he smiled at them both.

“Good morning Ikenna.”

“Good morning sir,” Ikenna eyed their boss as he strolled out.

“There is nothing going on, before you start to accuse me. abeg!” Ijeoma began defending herself.

“Have I said anything?” Ikenna laughed in her face. He ran a finger down Ijeoma’s arm and caught her palm in a lingering handshake. “Now if only you will agree my own….” He let the words hang and then turned away. “See you at lunch?”

He smiled on his way to his office on the other side of the hall. He was in Marketing where as she was in Clearing Operations. Oh Lord! Why did she attract all these men? Nnamdi, Ayo and now Ikenna! The latter was her friend but he would get her in trouble soon if he didn't stop. Ikenna had just gotten engaged but would not stop his flirting with all the girls in the bank especially her.

Other staff began to arrive including those who shared her office and they all settled down to the day's grind.

“Knock knock!” she spun on her seat. It was Adaku.

“Meet me in my office in 10 minutes”.

Great!

“This day just got worse,” Ijeoma muttered under her breath.

She tidied her desk, as she got ready to head over to Adaku’s office.

What could I have done? She wondered to herself trying to figure out what it was. As she approached Adaku’s office, she heard voices, so she stood outside waiting.

“Why did you call this meeting Adaku?”
“This girl is not doing her work, Ayo! Her work is substandard, not up to par. She needs to be taught a lesson.”

“But you know this is not the company policy. You need to tell her privately first before bringing me into this.”

Pause.

“Are you doing this because we are not sleeping together anymore, Adaku?” He queried her.

“What we had was more than sleeping together, Ayo and you know it!” Adaku yelled.

“You're married now, Adaku. You got married but decided not to tell me...”

“Did you tell me when you got married three years ago? And did that stop us?”

There was silence in the room except for the sound of Adaku's heavy breathing. “Adaku, I believe you're being harsh on your staff because you're frustrated more than anything else. So leave the girl, she has done nothing wrong. You know, the transfer offer to be with your husband is still open. I think you should consider it. You and I are finished.”

The door swung open and Ayo nearly ran into Ijeoma in the doorway. Ijeoma avoided meeting his eyes.

He smiled at her. “I’m guessing you heard all that then?” he asked her.

She looked everywhere but at him.

“It was bound to come out sooner or later,” he muttered, almost to himself. “But you should keep it to yourself.” Ayo gave her a look-over, with a knowing twinkle in his eyes as he walked away.

Ijeoma rubbed the back of her neck feeling very uncomfortable. Just then, a visibly shaken Adaku opened the door.

“What are you standing there for?” she snapped.

“Err…you asked me to see you?” Ijeoma answered.

“Forget it. Let me just warn you that I will not take kindly to any silly mistakes from you again. You hear me?”

“Yes ma,” Ijeoma answered sheepishly.

“Now get back to work before I change my mind,” Adaku spat at her.

Ijeoma spun on her heels and raced back to her desk. It wasn’t yet 10am and the day was already off to a rocky start. She still had to call her mother when she gets home that evening. Thoughts of Nnamdi had chased it from her mind last night...

“What?!” Ijeoma spluttered. She could have sworn that she just heard her supervisor tell the entire Operations staff and their managers that the procurement schedule template would be available at the armed robbers meeting.

“I said it would be available at the advisory board meeting,” Adaku spat at her. “Yes ma,” Ijeoma responded, suddenly finding something very important in her notebook. She wiped at a bead of sweat that wasn’t there, trying to relax. She passed her notebook to Bola who was seated next to her.

“Please, help me take notes. I’ll be right back,” she whispered and she excused herself.  She didn’t exhale till she had shut the bathroom door behind her.

“Oh dear, I’m losing my mind!” she said to the empty bathroom with her hand on her chest. She walked up to the sink, and washed her hands though they weren’t dirty. The running water provided some kind of solace.  It started when Adaku called on the intercom at about 10am, asking for a client’s armed robber, which was actually the client’s asset report. She felt like her mind was playing tricks on her.

It had been a few days since she met with Nnamdi, and she thought she had wiped him off her mind; only, to wake up this morning and find him sleeping peacefully next to her. She screamed and then woke up, and realized that the first wake-up sequence was only a dream.  She didn’t understand why this thing with Nnamdi bothered her so much. After all he'd said it was in the past. Could it be that this hit so close to home because she refused to accept she was attracted to him?

The finely chiselled frame of his face fluttered in her head as it had done every so often since her date, and gave her an instant thrill.

“But how could someone with such an honest demeanour ever have used a gun in his life?” she thought. She shook her head rapidly like it was the proven method of clearing one’s thoughts and winced at the headache she gave herself.

“Okay,” she spoke to the washbasin this time, with new found determination, “I’ve had enough of this. I have a job to do.” She straightened her empire waist dress in front of the mirror and looked herself straight in the eye. “You can’t let this worry you. He’s not important. You’re probably never going to see him again.”

She looked around to ascertain that no one else was in the bathroom, ignoring what it seemed her conscience was saying to her. She didn’t want to become “office gist” for having a nervous breakdown in the bathroom.  She pulled open the bathroom door holding her head high with square shoulders, but weary about how far the pep talk she had just given herself would go.

She got home that evening and finally decided to return Tochi’s missed calls. Her friend had tried to reach her non-stop since the night of the date, and she had ignored every one of the calls, because she couldn’t decide what to tell her. What if her well-meaning friend didn’t know about Nnamdi’s past? What if it turned out that Tochi’s brother had a history of armed robbery as well, since they were very close?

Her friend picked up on the second ring and didn’t bother with the perfunctory pleasantries.

“I know what you’re trying to do,” Tochi started with a tone that made Ijeoma feel that she was furious, “you want me to drop dead in suspense!”

Ijeoma managed a believable chuckle before responding, “No be so nah. I’ve been busy. How body?”

Body dey as you leave am. No use that one waste time. Give me all the juicy details. Did you guys hit the club after dinner? Is he a good dancer? More importantly, is he a good kisser? Did he take you home? How was it?”

“It was nice,” Ijeoma replied.

The silence that followed hinted that Tochi was waiting for more.

Tochi spoke up when her friend said nothing else, “Come on! Who do you think you’re talking to? Your mum? I’m asking for gist; you’re giving me the version for the people who still believe that you’re a good girl.”

“It was just a regular date nah,” Ijeoma replied, “I met him at the restaurant. We talked about our backgrounds, our families, secondary schools; etcetera. The food was good sha.”

 “Ehen?”

“And I went home after the meal!”

“As in? Did you ask for his number?”

“He gave it to me but I’m sure he can call me if he really wants to.”

“Hmmm. What are you not telling?”

“Nothing important, I’m serious.” She decided that she would not be the one to tell Tochi about Nnamdi’s past if she didn’t already know.

“Okay o,” Tochi replied, in a resigned tone, “but be sure that I don’t believe you completely. Do you want to see him again?”

“I don’t know,” Ijeoma laughed to lighten the moment and avail herself a change of subject. “Meanwhile,” she continued, “Ayo PM’ed me while we were sitting across from each other at a meeting this afternoon.”

“Who’s Ayo again? I know Ikenna the flirt...”

“No, this is my branch manager now. The one who wants me to schedule my leave at the same time he’s taking his, so we can travel together.” She emphasized the last two words to stress the idiocy of the idea.

“Wait, are you sure you’ve told me about this guy before?”

“Yes now, Mr-you-like-me-but-you’ve-not-realized-it-yet.”

Tochi burst out in peals of laughter, “He said that?!”

“Well, maybe not in those exact words, but he might as well have. In his message today, he was like: So why do you look so sexy this afternoon. I’m trying so hard not to be lustful. This man is married o...”

“Okay, that’s just nauseating. You need to teach him a thing or two about appropriateness.”

“Oh, I sent him a very nice email, which is probably why he didn’t stop by my desk to say goodnight when he was leaving. There's more gist oo...”

“Okay, hold it for me.” Tochi's voice was hurried,
“My dear, I have to get off now. TJ just drove in, and dinner is almost not ready.”

“No starve my broda o,” Ijeoma replied with a laugh.

“Goodnight hon.”

 “Okay then, goodnight!”
          
STORY CONTINUES... CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 3

                                          CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 1

Written by:
Ikpo Henry Chigozirim

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: SILENT CRIES - Episode 2
SILENT CRIES - Episode 2
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the girls in the bank, got married three years ago, the advisory board meeting, with new found determination, history of armed robbery, my branch manager, the procurement schedule template, raced back to her desk.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
http://www.moofyme.com/2016/10/silent-cries-episode-2.html
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