She kept on typing hoping he would take the hint but he just stood there, rubbing his chin.
“Ada, Ada, why are you franking your face, eh? Is it a crime for a man to like a woman?”
“You no dey shame. I am an employee here and you are a married man.” She shook her head.
He laughed at that. “That’s what I like about you. You are not the kind of girl that makes things easy for a man. You want me to really chase you and shower you with gifts.” He scratched his head. “I know you Nigerian girls – suppose I get you a nice gold necklace?”
Lola ignored him and kept on working.
He cocked his head to one side. “You just want to suffer eh? I heard you are trying to pay for your university course. I can pay that, one time. Put you up in a nice flat. Get you a little car?”
“I heard you are trying to pay for your university course. I can pay that one time. Put you up in a nice flat. Get you a little Ada stopped typing. “Please try and respect yourself, Mr Obi. You are old enough to be my dad. Let this be the first and the last of this kind of harassment – if not, I will have to report it to management.”
He shook his head and laughed and laughed, doubling over.
“Every woman has her price,” he said when he’d finally stopped laughing. He leaned over the desk and touched her face; she reared back – swatting his finger away. “Give me time. When I discover yours, I will get you,” he snapped a finger. “Just like that.”
Ada smelt the alcohol mixed with cigarette that clung to the man like a second skin and her stomach instinctively tightened in nausea. Then she felt her heart beat accelerate when she realised that she was alone in the office with a lecherous man who had been drinking. He had motive and now he had opportunity.
She was amazed at her how firm her voice sounded. “In your dreams.”
His eyes mocked hers. “ Eh? You have bewitched me Ada. Dreams can become true you know. Don’t make me go and see a Juju man to get you o.”
She heard him laugh once again and leave the room a bit unsteadily. When he left she shook her head and felt her heartbeats begin to return to normal.
He was now threatening her with Juju. It was a good job she didn’t believe in all that, but his words had certainly unnerved her. Maybe she should consider talking to somebody in Human Resources?
Then, the door opened again and all her irritation and anger erupted.
“Just go away and leave me alone!”
“Ada?” The voice was confused, a bit hesitant.
She turned round and saw it was Tony Okoli. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it.
Her heart was in her mouth. The last person she had expected to see. What had he seen? What had he heard?
“What was all that about?”
“I – I thought you were someone else,” she said, suddenly embarrassed.
He looked at her. “There is hardly anyone about.”
Mr Obi must have been quicker on his feet than she gave him credit for as he seemed to have disappeared. She tried to focus on the screen in front of her. “I’m fine.”
“I understand. Colleagues do that to you sometimes. I’ve worked with a few in the past, harbouring those kind of sentiments, sometimes.”
Ada found herself relaxing a bit and managed a smile. “Don’t mind me. I guess it’s been a long day.”
He looked at his watch. “Do you usually work this late?”
She nodded. “Sometimes.”
“Why is that?”
“I leave work early on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to make classes at University. So I clock out late to make up the time.”
He nodded. “Yes. I remember you told me you were studying for a degree part time at Unilag. Business and Finance Management – wasn’t it?”
“Yes”. Ada was surprised that he had remembered their conversation. He must have spoken to hundreds of people last Friday.
“That’s one of the things I would like to change around here – get more people working part time so they can improve themselves professionally. I know there are a few in the Personnel Department studying for their Nigerian Institute of Personnel Management Exam.”
“That would be really good.”
“I’m glad you think so.” He smiled then, looking down at her and Ada felt a bit self-conscious, then realised that he was looking at a book on her desk.
“You have great taste.”
She followed his gaze and picked up her copy of Half of a yellow Sun by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“You started reading it yet ?”
“I’ve read it twice.”
Ada nodded. “I think it is brilliant but then some might say we are biased. It is our story. I just love the attention to historical detail, the way she uses words, the characters and stories. It reminds me of all the stuff my parents told me about Biafra.”
He looked at her. “My parents hardly talk about it.”
She shrugged. “It’s always been controversial. People see it different ways – for some it was a part of history we are supposed to have moved on from.”
“I went searching for my history. It didn’t come looking for me.”
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