Omotola Part 5
Yemi couldn’t remember the last time he was such a bundle of contradictory emotions. He looked across at Tola as she kept her head bent, refusing to meet his eyes. He felt like wringing her neck and crushing her into a passionate embrace all at once.
He’d noticed her the instant he’d walked into the boardroom. He’d felt such a pull of attraction to the tall, leggy, dark-skinned woman and wondered who she was. He couldn’t explain it but for the first time since Bukky died, he wanted to get to know a woman better. While he plotted out ways to get her attention without singling her out and making it obvious to everyone else in the room that he was interested, he’d studied her closely.
She looked comfortable in her own skin yet there was a hint of vulnerability in her dark brown eyes. He’d noticed she wore little make-up but it had been skilfully applied to enhance her features. Her eyebrows were nicely shaped and her extraordinarily long and curly eyelashes rested delicately on her cheeks every time she blinked.
She was dressed conservatively in a dark grey business skirt suit but the cut accentuated her curves and hugged her waist and full breasts. The skirt stopped just above her knees revealing just enough of her thighs to get him wanting to see the rest as she sat. Her high-heeled pumps added extra inches to her height and made her already long legs appear even longer.
Her hair was pulled back into a bun but a few recalcitrant tendrils had escaped and he was tempted to undo her clasp and run his fingers through her straightened black hair. Simple gold stud earrings and a necklace were her only jewellery yet she looked more beautiful than a lot of women who wore thousands of dollars worth of jewellery.
When the CEO of Quik IT Solutions Ltd had introduced her and said her name, he’d felt something akin to a punch to his solar plexus. Shocked didn’t come close to describing how he’d felt. He’d been angry that he’d felt so attracted to the woman who’d treated him so shabbily without even having the benefit of meeting him. Yet he’d found himself being curious about her reaction. Why had she been so rude? What had happened in the past to make her react that way? Had she had a bad experience?
It was all of these questions that prompted him to send for her after she’d left the room. He’d used the excuse of having a few questions about the company accounts which he couldn’t care less about. His team was extremely thorough and they wouldn’t be at this meeting if Quik IT Solutions hadn’t been carefully scrutinised and approved.
Now she was sitting here alone with him, he questioned his sanity for requesting her presence. Naturally he’d expected her to be regretful about her behaviour but she’d disarmed him with her anger. He had no clue how to proceed.
Yemi, get a grip on yourself, man! The silence in the room was beginning hum. This was ridiculous. He was, after all, Adeyemi Cole, the oil and gas magnate who’d built up a multi-million dollar empire from scratch. The same one who’d courted and discoursed with presidents of nations and top government officials persuading them to come round to his way of thinking. Yemi Cole never backed away from a challenge yet here he was, being reduced to inactivity and rendered speechless by a woman. He had to say something. Anything.
“Have dinner with me,” he blurted out. He had no idea when the thought had crystallised in his mind, much less come out from his mouth. He was just desperate to break the uncomfortable silence.
“Pardon?” he could see his confusion reflected in her eyes as she looked up at him. Well, he couldn’t back out now. The words were out and there was no taking them back.
“I asked you to have dinner with me. You do want your company to get this contract, don’t you? Besides, there’s a certain package awaiting a joyful reunion with its owner,” he said lightly. It would serve him and his pubescent hormones right if she turned him down.
“Are you blackmailing me?” she asked, looking a bit shell-shocked. Obviously she hadn’t been expecting a dinner invitation.
He’d never yet had to resort to underhand means to get a woman to go out with him but he couldn’t think of any other way to see her socially. Of course he had no intention of letting her attitude affect the contract. He didn’t usually mix business with pleasure but she had no way of knowing that.
Yemi could have sworn he’d never see the day when a woman considered a dinner date with him something akin to a life sentence in jail. He knew women found him attractive and a great catch. He’d had to field overtures from women from very early on in his life. Even when he was married, he’d still borne the brunt of some determined women trying everything they could to get his attention.
But from the expression on Tola’s face, his invitation was anything but welcome. As a matter of fact, he had a strong feeling that she would only acquiesce because she was worried her saying no would mean her company would lose out on a rather lucrative contract. Otherwise she would probably have told him where to stuff his invitation.
“Your mother gave me your home address so I’ll pick you up at 7.30pm on Friday,” he said.
He could see she wanted to protest but she swallowed before nodding her head.
“If that’s all, I need to catch up with work,” she stood and strode out.
He leaned back in his chair, watching her swaying behind as she left the room. He’d expected more of a fight from her. Where was the feisty woman who’d cut him off last Friday? Why had she given in so easily? He shook his head, wondering if he hadn’t gotten himself involved in something he would regret. He wasn’t usually given to acting impulsively but one look at Tola Ayeni and he’d lost all ability to behave rationally.
Rubbing his hands over his head, he consoled himself with the fact that it was just dinner with the daughter of his aunt’s friend, not a date. He would pick her up, they would eat at a non-cosy, business-like restaurant, he would give her package to her, drop her off at home and that would be that. He would never have to see her again. If nothing else, he would be able to tell his conniving aunt, he’d given things a try but they hadn’t worked out. Surely Yemi Cole could have dinner with a woman without complicating his life further.
Just dinner, that was the refrain he repeated over and over in his head as he grabbed his briefcase and headed out the building even as images of the beguiling beauty that was Tola Ayeni assaulted his mind. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Cole and you will soon begin to believe it.