“I am sorry,” she said. “It will be over by Sunday. We can meet here. On Monday. After work.” She told him apologetic and very desperate to please and make amends as if she had brought on her period on purpose.
“It’s okay. Next week. We will come again, next week,” Ike said stroking her hair.
Something about blood put him off and this kind of blood was the worst. He called for their bill, paid and then they got into his car and he drove off.
“You can let me off here. I will cross over to the other side.” She told him and as he pulled over she said. “I Hope you are not upset?”
“No,” Ike said and to prove it, he reached behind, into his briefcase and pulled out his cheque book.
“Flora what?” he asked as he wrote her a cheque for a quarter of a million naira and noting to himself that once she had a place of her own in Oniru, he would not have to spend money taking her places like Sunshine Lodge and hiding from friends.
“God will bless you,” she said as she kissed him, then she pulled open the door and stepped out. He watched her cross the road and wave, then he pushed the stick to Drive and sped off.
Flora wasn’t at work on Monday.
Ike noticed because he expected to see her and because she didn’t bring him his morning coffee. Instead, one of the office assistants, the one with the body and mouth odour brought it for him.
“Where is that secretary, em…” he feigned
“Auntie Flora never come,” she said fouling up the air in his office.
Ike drank his morning coffee then went to the boardroom for the Exco meeting. When he came out at 11.30am, he walked round to the kitchen, past the secretary’s pool, to see whether she had come in but she wasn’t there. He asked the boy he met there for a cup of coffee then walked back to his office.
Flora didn’t come in that day and Ike was a bit worried because he didn’t even have her phone number. Maybe a flu or malaria, he thought as he sank into the plush leather of his Camry at close of work.
But she didn’t come on Tuesday or the next day and by Thursday when Ike didn’t see her and when his bank hadn’t called him to confirm the cheque, he asked one of the other secretaries if they had heard from her.
“They say she is missing o.”
“I don’t know. But her Auntie says she did not come back home on Friday.”
Ike heard the words but they were like loud thunder claps, blasting his senses – She didn’t come back home on Friday.
“Is HR aware?” Ike heard himself ask.
“Yes . Police came here yesterday to ask questions. They spoke to HR.”
“Thank you,” Ike said and fled to the toilet, his bowels rumbling.
She didn’t come back home on Friday.
Christ! Had anyone seen him pick her up or drop her off? He couldn’t be so sure. He was the last person to have been with her. What would he tell the police he was doing with her? Or his wife even? Jesus! Ike was suddenly overcome by dread. What had he gotten himself into? One date. No sex and he was suddenly in deep trouble.
If someone had seen them together, then there would be trouble and even if no one had seen them together, there would still be trouble if the police found his cheque in her bag.
Continues on Thursday
By Toni Kan