Merry Christmas/Omotola Part 7
I hope you are having a lovely Christmas. Whatever you do today, don’t forget the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus, Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.
I am posting a longer excerpt today as a special Christmas present to my readers.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.
Have a wonderful day.
Tola seemed lost in thought and was looking out her window. Yemi had no idea what to say so the ride to the restaurant was made in silence.
He wondered what was going on in that pretty head of hers. She intrigued him. Since she’d found out who he was, he hadn’t noticed her exhibiting any of the flirtatious tendencies most women he met did. On the contrary, she appeared not to want to even have anything to do with him.
He parked in the forecourt of the restaurant and turned to her as he switched off the ignition.
“I’ve been reliably informed that ‘Margaret’s’ is the place to come to for great Nigerian food,” he said.
“I’ve heard equally good things about this place but I’ve never been,” she replied, shrugging like she couldn’t care one way or another.
“Well, let’s go in and find out, shall we?” he said.
“Ouch!” Yemi said as car door slammed into him. She either wasn’t expecting him to open her door again or was in a hurry to get out of such close proximity to him.
“Oh no! I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you,” she said, as she jumped out of the car and held on to his arms looking him over up and down to see if he’d been hurt. “Did I hurt you?”
Yemi was sorely tempted to pretend he was in pain as he wanted to prolong the feeling of her soft hands on his skin. This was also the most vulnerable and approachable she’d been since they met. In truth, the door had barely brushed him and he reluctantly conceded that it would be cruel of him as she looked genuinely mortified.
“I’m fine. And no, you didn’t hurt me.” She looked at him warily as though unsure if he were telling her truth and promptly dropped her hands. “Honestly, I’m ok,” he said, smiling.
He gestured to her to go ahead as they went into the restaurant. He wanted to put his hand on the small of her back but she scooted so far ahead, he made do with sticking his hands into his trouser pockets instead.
A waiter showed them to a table at the far end of the restaurant and handed them some menus. Yemi smiled wryly as he eyed Tola studying the menu as if she would have to take an exam on it later. She seemed determined to do everything she could not to speak him. He wondered how long her silence would last. From the little he knew of her, she didn’t strike him as the shy, retiring type.
After the waiter took the orders and left them, he studied her as she sipped her drink and looked everywhere but at him. Varying expressions crossed her face and she seemed to be fighting some inward battle with herself. He wondered if he could convince her to share her thoughts with him. He didn’t have to wonder to long.
“I don’t appreciate being toyed with,” she snapped. “You must have had a good laugh knowing I worked for Quik IT the whole time.”
His brow creased into a puzzled frown. “What on earth are you talking about? I had no idea who you worked for.”
“Yeah, right!” she rolled her eyes in disbelief.
“I mean it. Your mother gave me your address and number but she didn’t ever mention who you worked for. I only found out when I walked into your boardroom on Monday.”
“I don’t believe you,” she replied stubbornly.
“Look, I don’t really care whether or not you believe me. It’s the truth. I now understand why your mother feels the need to set you up. You couldn’t possibly attract a man worth his salt with that shrewish attitude of yours.” He knew his words were harsh but he was tired of her childish behaviour. He was beginning to regret his impulsive decision to invite her out.
“How dare you? You don’t know a thing about me?” she gasped, her eyes throwing daggers at him.
“I may not know everything about you but I do know that since the first time I spoke to you, you’ve been rude and assumed the worst about me without having even met me. I chose to overlook it as a misunderstanding.
“I asked you to dinner because I thought we could get past that and be friends but I was obviously wrong. I was under the mistaken impression that we could have a meal and some adult conversation but it would seem even that was too much to ask of you,” he glared at her.
“If you have to blackmail a woman to go out to dinner with you, then I don’t know—”
“I’m not sure exactly what your problem is but frankly I don’t want to know. This was a mistake. Come on, I’ll take you back home.” He brought out his wallet and tossed some naira notes on the table, then stood and waited for her to join him.
“You don’t have to worry, I won’t hold your behaviour against your company. We’ve already decided that the deal will go ahead.”
As angry as he was, his eyes were drawn to her back view as walked ahead. Her spine was stiffened in pride and she walked to his car without so much as a backward glance.
Tola, you and your big mouth! Talk about making a fool of oneself. She liked to think of herself as rational and calm but ever since she met Yemi, she’d been uncharacteristically rude. She hadn’t meant to blurt out the accusations, which had turned out to be unfounded anyway. There was just something about Yemi Cole that seemed to bring out the worst in her.
Admittedly she was hostile to him because she thought he was party to her mother’s scheming but even when she’d figured he wasn’t, it still hadn’t stopped her mouthing off. She’d told herself the only reason she was going to dinner with him was because her company’s future depended on it. But if she was honest with herself, she’d have to say that she was curious about him and hoped dinner would give her a chance to get to know him better.
Groaning inwardly, she closed her eyes as she remembered how she’d embarrassed herself. She could kill her mother right now! She most certainly wouldn’t have reacted to him the way she’d done at all if the shadow of her mother’s matchmaking had not been clouding her judgment. To think that, under normal circumstances, Yemi was just sort of guy she would probably go for, now she’d blown even the remotest chance he might be interested in her.
She stole a glance at his profile as he drove in silence. His features were set in a hard look. His hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly, she could see the skin stretched tautly against his knuckles. She admired the grip he was keeping on his temper even though it was clear he was angry. Unfortunately she hadn’t exercised similar control over her emotions.
Whatever preconceptions she may have nursed about Yemi, her behaviour towards him had been reprehensible. She was a grown woman yet she’d acted like a child who couldn’t have its way. Irrespective of how she felt towards him, she owed the man an apology.
The car slowed. She looked up and realised they were back at her flat. As he brought the car to a halt and tried to get out, she put her hand on his arm to stop him.
“You don’t need to get out, I can let myself out. “
He sat back in his seat and held on to the steering wheel, waiting for her to get out of the car.
“You have every right to be mad at me. I’ve behaved abominably and I’m ashamed of myself,” she said quietly. “It’s no excuse but when I heard my mum gave you my contact details, all I could think was she was up to her usual tricks of matchmaking me again. But I had no right to be so disrespectful. I don’t expect you to forgive me but for what it’s worth, I am very sorry.”
Trying hard to rein back the tears that were threatening to drop, she opened the door and got out of the car. She couldn’t wait to get into her flat, lock the door and have a good cry. Just before she got to her front door, his voice reached her.
“Hey, wait up.”
She didn’t turn around as the tears had started to roll down her face. So head down, back hunched, she waited.
“My aunt’s always trying to match make me too.”
He’d come to stand in front of her and she looked up at him. His eyes were crinkled in a smile. She reached into her bag, grabbed a tissue and dabbed her face.
“You’re just saying that to make me feel better,” she sniffed. She couldn’t imagine that a man with his looks and wealth needed any help with his love life.
“I’m serious. You should hear about some of the dates I’ve been out on just to get her off my back.” “Although I have to say, I’ve never left any of the dates before the dinner was served. This is a first for me,” his smiled widened.
“Well, they do say there’s always a first time for everything,” she teased, smiling back.
“Touché,” his eyes twinkled. “I have to admit I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in a very long time. I probably need my head examined but I’d like to see you again.”
Tola looked at him awestruck. She had been so convinced he would be glad to see her back and that would be that. Instead he was saying he wanted to see her again.
“I’d like that too,” she replied shyly. “I’m the one who ruined our dinner tonight, so let me make it up to you. If you’re free on Sunday, let me cook you lunch?”
“Hmm! Sounds like a plan,” he grinned.
“I’ll be here. Goodnight.” He leaned over and brushed her cheeks with his lips. The kiss was so light she couldn’t be sure she hadn’t imagined it. As she pondered on it, she heard his car driving away into the night. Letting herself into the flat, she held her palm over her cheek, savouring his touch.
What a night! Smiling, she got ready for bed. Even though they hadn’t eaten at the restaurant, she didn’t feel hungry. Excitement bubbled within her that he wanted to see her again. Trying hard but rather unsuccessfully to rein in her wild imagination, she pondered on his reasons for wanting to do so. Tempted as she was to come to just one conclusion, she acknowledged that there could be any number of other reasons.
Be still, my treacherous heart! That was her last thought as she drifted off to sleep replaying his kiss over and over again.
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