Tayo was glad she didn’t share an office. She’d gotten to work earlier than usual hoping to avoid the barrage of questions about valentine gifts and what nots. She just wanted to be left alone!
Last Val’s she had complained about Jide’s cheap-ass presents, well cheap-ass presents were better than no-ass presents. She went online hoping to find something remotely amusing about the morning. Being the boss she didn’t have a pile of work to do. At this point she really wished she did.
“Madam good morning, I brought you some cake.”
Her secretary chirped gaily. She forced a smile.
“That’s so nice of you but it’s lent and I’m fasting…”
She knew that piece of information would be widely disseminated round the office and save her several knocks and several pieces of cake that would only serve to remind her that though she was boss, her subordinates had something she didn’t have- a man!
It’d been weeks since Jide had dropped the bombshell. Her parents had been shocked, her friends stunned. She just felt numb. She wasn’t sure if she ever loved him but she felt like marriage had cheated her yet again.
Her phone began to ring loudly. She sighed as she was rudely brought back to the present. The number was unfamiliar.
“Please who is this?”
The voice sounded distant but vaguely familiar. It was obvious the caller was making an effort to remain anonymous.
“A friend or someone who would like to be one…”
“Whoever you are, I’m at work and very busy. Got no time for games”
“This is not a game. Let’s call it breaking the ice. Happy Valentine’s day Tayo…I hope you got the memo cos you are my valentine!”
“Did Amaka make you do this to cheer me up? Is this a joke?”
“No it isn’t…I’ll call you back!”
And with that the line went dead and as if on cue, there was a knock on her door.
She responded absent-mindedly, still pondering about the caller.
A man carrying a huge bouquet of red roses came into the office. The flowers obscured his face and Tayo’s heart began to pound.
“Happy Valentine’s day ma’am”
Tayo was speechless. He dropped the flowers and left.
There was another knock on the door. This time it was a lady with a big, white cake box.
“Happy Valentine’s day ma’am, please where can I drop the box?”
Tayo pointed, still speechless.
Not up to five minutes after the lady left there was another knock on the door.
Am I dreaming?
Tayo half-expected another stranger bearing gifts but instead it was her colleague Bisi.
“Tayo I thought you said you and Jide broke up? Besides he must have really stepped up from last year oh! See performance! The whole office is talking about it”
“Bisi apparently it’s from a secret admirer. Jide’s probably married by now or something.”
“Wow lucky you. Anyway I’m not roasting this valentine’s, John from accounts wants to take me out after work. I told you he had been eyeing me, he finally worked up the nerve to ask me on a date!”
“That’s great dear”
“Please call me when you cut this yummy cake!”
Bisi exclaimed as she opened the box.
“And ping me once you find out who this admirer is!”
In a few minutes, Tayo was alone again and she began to create a mental list of people who would pity her enough to val her. Could it be her parents? Or Sheila? Or maybe Amaka? Definitely not Aisha cos she was away enjoying herself in Paris. She hadn’t heard from both Sheila and Amaka in a while. She made a mental note to call them after work.
An hour later her phone began to ring. It was the same number. Tayo caught her breath.
“Hi, thanks for the gifts. You really shouldn’t have. I am not a charity case!”
“Who said anything about charity? Can’t a man be utterly and totally in love with you?”
“But you don’t even know me.”
“I met you a while ago and was captivated and being who I am, I did a thorough investigation and everything I found out made me want you more and more. Tayo I’ve been searching for you all my life I swear!”
“Please don’t swear, it’s lent!”
“Sorry hon. I’ll call you back!”
And the line went dead again. This was surely a conspiracy because there was another knock on her door.
A guy with a chef’s hat rolled in a trolley and she could smell the delicious aroma of fresh oven baked pastries.
“Ma’am tea or coffee?”
He served her a cup and was gone in a flash.
There was another knock.
Maybe the chef had forgotten something. Where was her secretary anyway? This all felt like a grand conspiracy she thought for the second time that morning.
In walked a delivery man with a box.
She signed for it and he left. Inside was a Chanel No. 5 perfume gift set. This man definitely was loaded. She began to cross out names from her mental list. Nobody she knew would go this far for her.
An hour later, her phone rang and the cycle repeated itself.
By closing time, she had 13 cards, 2 giant teddy bears, breakfast and lunch, a cake, a perfume set, 2 shirts, jewellery, a bouquet of red roses and a bouquet of white roses, a hamper, shoes (how on earth did he guess her shoe size?) and a beautiful wristwatch.
This was the most romantic valentine she’d ever had. Even better than the ones she dreamed up and saved away in her ‘frivolous dreams’ box. Who was this guy? He knew so much about her tastes and each gift was well thought out but he had signed every card and she couldn’t make out a name from the signature.
Her secretary and another staff helped her load up her car with the gifts. She had hoped he’d be waiting for her after work or call her at the close of work but her phone remained silent. She actually didn’t wanna go back to her empty house. Times like this she wished she hadn’t moved out of her parent’s house. Who would she share all her goodies with. She’d fed the office fat but still had surplus.
As she was about to get into her car, she saw a man in a suit. He was wearing dark shades which was odd since it was evening already plus he was in her parking lot and she knew every staff in the building and to top it all, he was walking towards her with a little smile tugging on the corners of his mouth.
Tayo’s heart began to pound. She decided to take control of the situation.
“Hi, I’m Tayo, you must be the guy I spoke to on the phone, Mr-”
He removed his shades and Tayo swooned! She’d recognise that face anywhere!
“Yes, Tayo. Happy Valentine’s day. Been tryna get your attention for weeks now but ever since the whole akward situation at the restaurant, you won’t pick my calls or agree to see me. Tayo I really wanna be with you.”
“Philip or Ahmed or whatever you call yourself. You lied to me, you tricked me. You tried to play me, why should I give you the time of day and FYI I cannot be bought over with gifts!”
“I wasn’t tryna buy you over babes. I’m crazy about you. I just need you to give me a chance. I didn’t get to introduce myself properly last time we met. My name is Philip Ahmed Adewale Rogers. My friends call me any name they choose. I didn’t know you were Jide’s girl…”
“But after you knew who I was, you didn’t back down! What does that say about your loyalty and friendship with Jide?”
“Tayo, Jide and I had a long talk and he gave his blessings…”
Tayo was furious.
“I am not some toy to be passed from friend to friend so you can compare notes! This is ridiculous, I’m leaving.”
“Please Tayo. It’s not like that at all. I know the circumstances in which we met were not ideal but I also know you felt something that day and I felt it too…”
“We are grown-ups Ahmed in case you have forgotten. We do not act on ‘feelings’…”
“So why didn’t you do the logical thing which was to say yes to Jide’s proposal that day at the restaurant? Or did ‘feelings’ have you confused?”
Tayo fell silent. Philip or whatever he called himself was cocky! She had no time for men like this. Arrogant men who were used to getting anything and anyone they desired. But why was her heart beating so fast and her stomach in ridiculous knots? Why did this very annoying man have such an effect on her? Amaka thought he was trouble and she was inclined to believe her.
“Please give me a chance Tayo. Have dinner with me. At least you owe me that…”
He saw that his attempt at humor was lost on her. He continued.
“I promise we’ll take things very slow. Be just friends for a while if you like till you are certain that what I feel for you is genuine but I promise you that it is Tayo. Please say you’ll go on a date with me?”
Happy Valentine’s day chutzpah fam! Hugs and Kisses…xoxoxo