Afosua couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that her search for Tony had turned up fruitless. She also felt a little foolish for going out on the chase, when she was only accustomed to prowling. Tony’s phantom was taking her out of her comfort zone, and she wasn’t certain she appreciated it. By the time she got back to the office, it was nearly closing time. Traffic had been brutal, and the 3 hours she’d spent driving had exhausted her. She decided she would just hang around her office until she could sail home.
When she arrived, she was pleasantly surprised to see Gertrude still at her desk. She was intently staring at her screen and hardly noticed Afosua walk in.
She’s taking such control of her career! Afosua thought.
When she circled around Gertrude’s desk, she immediately recognized the blue and white branding of Facebook.
“Hi, what are you doing here?”
Gertrude whipped around.
“I was just finishing some reports!” she yelled a little too loudly, clicking frantically on her mouse.
Afosua just smiled.
“Any messages for me? I was gone longer than I expected.”
“No…er…that is yes. You had a visitor. A Mr. Coffie,” stumbled Gertrude.
“Tony? Tony Coffie?”
Afosua was exasperated.
“Well why didn’t you BBM me?” she nearly wailed.
“Well…he said he didn’t want to leave a message. He said he would much rather…”
“…wait for you in your office.”
Tony strode out of Afosua’s office, looking sheepish.
“I hope I didn’t get your assistant in too much trouble,” he apologized. “Wherever you had gone, I didn’t want you rushing back on my account – so I decided to wait.”
Afosua sighed in relief. Pastor Blankson had not told Tony she had gone to find him. She could still maintain an air of superiority, if she really wanted to. At the moment all she could think of was how handsome Tony looked in his dark grey slacks and azure shirt. He smelled divine and he looked better than she recalled so long ago.
“No, no! It’s no trouble at all. I just don’t like not being in the know when it comes to clients and visitors, that’s all.”
Gertrude nodded knowingly and began to pack up her things. She slung her purse over her shoulder and announced her departure.
“I’m going to leave now Ms. Gyemfi, if that’s okay.”
“Absolutely. See you in the morning.”
“Good night, Gertrude,” whispered Tony. “Thank you for keeping me entertained.”
Gertrude blushed and left the room. Afosua wondered what the hell he was talking about. ‘Entertained’ exactly how? She brushed by him and went into her office.
“Shut the door please,” she commanded. She was miffed at the thought of Tony flirting with Gertrude and wasn’t sure how happy she was to see him anymore. She turned and faced him with her arms across her chest.
“How did you find me?” she demanded.
“I did some asking around,” Tony replied mischievously. “That, and I picked up one of your business cards from your desk after I left your house. That made the finding much easier.”
“And what brings you to see me?”
“I couldn’t get you off my mind,” he admitted moving in closer. “I came here to – to –“
She was annoyed and sucked her teeth in frustration.
Tony grabbed Afosua suddenly and kissed her deeply. As his lips roamed hers insistently she felt her defenses weaken. Tony gently moved her arms from their position of rebuff and placed them around his neck. As she melted against him, she felt him get harder and harder. This had to be a dream. How was he here? However he had gotten here, she didn’t care. She closed her eyes and groaned with anticipation, wondering what might come next.
“Burning the candle at both ends are we?” said an amused voice.
It was Robert. He was standing at the door with a glass of water in his hand, smiling. Tony and Afosua broke away from each other, startled by the interruption.
“Can I help you, Robert?” Afosua asked tersely.
“No! I was just about to lock up and I saw your light on. Wouldn’t want you to be trapped in here alone, that’s all.” He paused and laughed when he spoke again. “But then, I guess there’s no chance in that, is there?”
“You’re right,” Afosua shot back. “We were just leaving.”
She picked up her suit jacket and strode off to the main office door. Tony followed her quickly, wiping her rose colored lip gloss from his lips with the back of his hand.
“Next time if you need a little privacy, try the broom closet!” Robert called after her.
“Not with your DNA squirted all over it, thank you,” Afosua said smugly.
She knew that Robert would say nothing about finding her and Tony in such an uncompromising position on work premises. There was no law against it, but if there was ever any finger pointing and back chatter, he would lose, seeing as HE was the office whore. And he was way too smart and had way too much to lose over something so trivial.
“Let’s go to my place,” suggested Afosua. “We won’t have any interruptions there.”
Naa Akweley sat at her dressing table, hardly able to look at her own reflection in the mirror. How had she become this woman? Ian was touching her all the time now, but only with his fist. Tonight he had blacked her eye because she had served rice for dinner instead of potatoes. She rationalized that he must be under a lot of stress with the church, and that’s why he was so angry all the time. The council of Bishops was considering elevating him from pastor to bishop, and everything had to be perfect. Naa knew that she had to make major changes if she wanted to have a happy home. Everything had to be flawless.
But this hurt so bad.
Who could she talk to? Her own family had distanced themselves from her after marrying Ian, and she felt so isolated. She herself had alienated most of her friends – if she dared call them that – with her bitter poison. Perhaps…perhaps if she tried apologizing?
She ached to talk to someone – anyone! She picked up her cell phone and searched for the number of the one person who might understand what it was like to be a hollow woman searching to be made whole. When it rang once, she hung up in fear and began to cry uncontrollably.
A good wife never embarrasses her husband.
Tony and Afosua pulled into the driveway of her house and parked side by side.
“This time, I can drive myself home,” he joked. “No more dropping me at corners!”
Afosua let her guard down enough to laugh with him. The sun had just set and the sky was awash with the colors of pink, amber and blood red. No matter how many times she saw it, she was always amazed by the beauty of a West African sunset. That was one of the many simple reasons she was glad she made the decision to move back home. A voice called for her from the veranda, disturbing her reverie.
“Afos! Is that you?”
“Yes, Ma,” she sighed.
“Come into the house. I haven’t seen you in days,” her mother complained.
Afosua took Tony up to the veranda where her mother was seated, having a shandy. At 58, Elizabeth Anaan was still an attractive woman, with a figure more women in their 20s would kill for. Her good looks were the result of being a kept woman…a very well kept woman. Elizabeth had been Afosua’s father’s mistress.
“Who is this?” Elizabeth asked suspiciously.
“Tony Coffie,” Tony answered, putting out his hand to shake that of the elder woman’s. “And judging by your impeccable stature, I assume that you are the mother of Ms. Gyemfi?”
“A flatterer. Huh. Let me tell you something young man,” Elizabeth warned. “In this house, flattery will get you anywhere. Have a seat!”
She was smiling. Tony was relieved. Afosua was aghast. She just wanted to get the man to her wing of the house so that they could shag! Now he was having a drink with her mother. Oooooo oh!
For the next two hours, Tony regaled Madam Anaan with tales of his travels and his work. The more scandalous the story, the more hooked she was. She loved to hear about other people’s financial exploits, although Tony refused to divulge the names of any of his clients. By the time the two had finished, Madam Anaan was drunk, sleepy and thoroughly impressed with the young man.
“You have to come back and visit me sometime,” she commanded. “Ever since Afos’ dad died, I’ve been quite lonely in the house.”
Tony shot Afosua a confused look. She looked away from him.
“I thought…?” he stopped himself from going further. “Yes, of course I will come and visit you.”
Elizabeth got up and excused herself. She was going to retire for the evening and indulge in the latest Nigerian film.
“Good night, Tony. It was a pleasure meeting you.”
“Good night, Madam.”
Afosua smiled wearily and sauntered toward her living quarters. Her father had built her her own home that was adjacent to the main house. That way, she felt like she was away from home without ever having to go far. He knew how much she valued her independence and indulged her.
“Would you like to come up? I’d offer you a drink, but it looks like you and my mother had plenty between the two of you.”
Tony grabbed her by the wrist and whispered in her ear.
“Afosua – I have something to confess to you. I don’t know what it is about you, but I want you to know that I don’t just want to make love to you; I want to make you love me.”
This made Afosua freeze. When Tony looked in her eyes, he saw a sadness overshadow them…a mourning almost.
“That can never happen Tony,” Afosua answered coldly. “I could never love anyone. And if those are your sole intentions, I think it’s best that you go on home.”
“Good night, Tony. Traffic should be cleared up by now. The watchman will let you out.”
She walked into her front door and shut it without looking back. Tony stood in the courtyard stunned for a few moments before driving off. When she heard the gate swing shut, Afosua dropped her body onto her sofa and stared at the ceiling refusing to mourn another lost shot at love. She would not cry. What for? Crying never solved anything.