SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – #40YEARSMARRIEDTOABABOON

300416Okay my Saturday is targeted at learning life lessons, in writing, marriage, my life and every other stuff I choose.

On Wednesday, I introduced my Tuesday gig for the next forty Tuesdays (it seems like such a long one but I’m sure we’ll all enjoy it.)

I want to talk a little bit about what we’ll expect.

  1. Your story will be told (if you’re in love with a baboon.) There is really nothing new under the sun, and I believe it is so that we can learn our lessons. Much of the stories will be from the Bible. But you’ll soon find out, this looks just like me.
  2. Female baboons I will call hyenas. They are just as deadly. Maybe even more because they add spirit to character. Again, you may think I’m talking about you.
  3. Don’t be offended, instead, learn.
  4. I love you.

 

FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: ERO

290416My first historical #truedream novel, Ìka, hit online in the kindle version in March, and the reviews coming in have been quite interesting and encouraging. I loved writing the book, and I’m glad people reading are enjoying it too.

The lead female character in the book is the teenage princess, Ero, frail, beautiful, and smart. I enjoyed exploring this character. Born in the times when wars and rumors of wars were rampant, and men judged civilization by the number of conquests, Ero was sent by the oracle to stop Ìka, a warrior prince, from taking over her kingdom. Read the book to know more.

Ero as a sacrificial lamb is not bitter or angry but sees the decision of the oracle as divine. This shows a depth of faith and love for her people and her land.

Would this book later become a movie, or TV drama, I can only think of a young and fresh face to play this role. My daughter, Ifeoluwa. I know she will make a great actress, if she chooses this path.

Ifemi

Read Ìka, Historical True Dream novel by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka. Find the book online on amazon!

 

TO WHERE THE WIND BLEW

 To Where the Wind Blew cover croppedCHAPTER 6 

 

He traveled the following day as he had planned and did not return until six weeks later. Ronke could not bring herself to tell Teju or anyone else about their meeting over the weekend, and so she just kept quiet about it.

She was busy at work one day in the sixth week of his absence, when the mail man came in with a parcel for her. She knew no one in particular who could have sent it. While she signed reception, Teju walked in, and joined in the excitement of opening the parcel.

“Who sent it?” she said.

“I don’t know.”

As soon as they tore the silky wrapping, a small slip dropped. On it was type-written, ‘From Ghana with Love.’ There was no signature or name, but Ronke knew perhaps KE was back.

“Who’s this?” Teju picked up the slip, and read the wordings. The parcel contained a beautiful set of Ghanaian traditional beads, and ‘kente’ beach wear, something similar to what KE had worn on the night of the dress rehearsal.

Ronke exclaimed. “My God, it’s so beautiful.”

“And you don’t even know who—” Ronke thought of what to say. She couldn’t tell Teju her suspicions. Yet she knew she had to say something.

“Oh, I now remember, it’s one Ghanaian guy I met last week.” She giggled. “Huh, that guy is really desperate. He said he will contact me but goodness, I least expected this.”

“And what a way to contact a person. You don get person be dat o! You better stick to him.” Teju laughed.

“Teju, how can I go for a Ghanaian? Even if he has the whole world in his hands! I haven’t even given him a positive answer. Me o, I’m sending his parcel back to him,” Ronke said.

Kai!” Teju screamed. “If you don’t want it, I beg give me. Send wetin back? Na you send am to give you? I beg Ronke, no kill me dis afternoon. I have always told you that your shy shy will kill you one day, kai.” Teju hissed.

***

That evening, KE was at her door.

“I hope you like the kente,” he said as he was let in.

Ronke curtseyed. “Yes sir, thank you so much. It’s so beautiful, I least expected it.”

He took a seat. “That’s okay. Where’s Modele?”

Ronke marveled at his simple manner. “She’s in the house, down with a little fever.”

He frowned. “I hope it isn’t serious?”

“No, she’s responding well.”

“What drugs did you use for her?”

“I prayed over her and rinsed her body with tepid water,” Ronke said, and took the seat opposite him.

He smiled. “Are you an S.U.?” The near-derogatory term for believers, which stands for the great gospel fellowship group, Scripture Union.

“I believe in God’s healing power, and Modele is responding well, thank God.”

He glared at her. “Come and sit down beside me.”

She gasped. “Sir?”

“Here.” He patted the space next to him, on the rickety cane chair.

“Sir, could I ask some questions?”

He smiled. “About my wife? Go on!”

He could read her mind. If he was married, then why was he here with her? He had been away for six weeks, and for once, she hadn’t thought about him. All she came to realize was the great contrast between the man Teju knew, and the man she was coming to know. Despite her feelings toward him, she knew she still couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone anything happened between them.

“Is she—I–sir, where is she?”

He held her gaze. “I lost her six years ago.”

She cleared her throat. “Ooh, I’m so sorry.”

“That’s okay. Will you come and sit beside me now?” He smiled. “I promise I won’t touch you.”

Ronke felt reluctant now she knew he was available but complied all the same. She didn’t want to be emotionally attached.

“I want you to have a mobile phone—”

“I can’t afford it, sir.”

“Don’t worry about the cost. I’ll get one for you. I want to be able to keep track of you, know where you are, what you are doing…”

“Sir? I…”

“I am a very possessive man, but don’t mind me, I won’t stress you…”

“Sir.” She got up. “I don’t understand. Why would you want to keep track of me every minute of the day? And anyway, how do I explain to my colleagues how I got a mobile…”

He leaned forward. “Which is the problem exactly? Why I want to keep track, or how you’ll explain?”

“Both, sir.”

“Alright, I want to keep track of you because I don’t want to lose my mistress to anyone else, and you can just explain this to your colleagues, or just tell them to mind their bloody business,” he said coolly, his eyes trained her.

Goose bumps rose on her arms. “Mistress? I’m sorry sir, but no, I don’t want to be your mistress. I don’t want to go into any relationship with anyone.”

“You want me to make you?”

Her gaze met his cool ones. “Make me?! No one can make me do what I don’t want to do, sir.” Thoughts of how she was raped flashed across her mind, and she looked away.

“Alright, alright that was just a joke. I ordered the phone anyway, I’ll make sure my driver delivers it to you tomorrow.”

“Sir, I don’t…”

He sighed. “Oh Ronke, that’s settled. Just come and sit down here, and let’s talk.”

KE’s driver did deliver the phone, and she got a call from him the same day.

“Sir, this is very embarrassing,” she said.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it,” was his plain reply.

But it left Ronke confused about what she was to him. He was ‘making’ her get into a relationship with him already, since she couldn’t stick to her refusal. She couldn’t confide in anyone, so she simply lied to Teju she had agreed to go out with her Ghanaian friend, and he gotten her the phone.

“He really must be rich o. This is 090 and a very expensive handset too,” Teju said.

“He’s with the High Commission, one of the top officers there,” Ronke stammered.

Teju sneered. “You’re very lucky. If I can get a man like that, even if he is from China, I’ll stop work in this God-forsaken place and throw it back in KE’s face.”

“You must hate this KE so much,” Ronke mumbled, wondering why.

Over dinner with KE that night, Ronke decided to clarify issues once and for all. She just couldn’t’t continue living a double, deceitful life.

“Sir…”

He cut in. “Ma, don’t call me, sir.”

“What do I call you?” she said. “Sir, I—”

“Hey Ronke, relax. I am not forcing you to do anything, don’t get angry with me.”

Ronke did get irritated, and for the rest of the dinner, remained quiet. Why was she succumbing to him all the time? When he called for the dinner, she said, ‘No sir” but he came to pick her up, and she followed him. Why couldn’t she maintain her word? Truly, he was the big boss, and she had her job and her daughter to protect, yet, did it mean she would also lose her freedom, self-respect, and integrity?

On the way home, KE’s hand slid to her knees, and massaged it gently.

“Ronke darling, please call me Kola, okay?” She didn’t respond. “Ronke, Ronke I’m talking to you.”

“I’ve heard you,” she murmured.

“Don’t be upset with me, hmm, please?” he whispered. She glanced at him. “I need you, you may not know how much now, but I need you badly,” he said, hoarsely.

She couldn’t control her frustration. “You don’t need me, and I don’t need you. You just want to take advantage of me,” she said.

“Who told you that?” She sensed a trace of anger in his voice.

“No one has to tell me. I know. Teju said…”

“Teju Craig? What did she tell you about me?”

“You know her, sir?” Ronke stirred. Had she gone too far?

He spat. “Listen to me, if you go about with that girl, I’ll deal with you, and you’ll hate me for it.”

Had she missed something? What was Teju to him? The rest of the journey home was in silence. What didn’t she know? She had to be careful for the safety of herself, her daughter, and her job.

 

WEDNESDAY FUN DAY – #40 YEARS MARRIED TO A BABOON, INTRO

I’vebaboon-47367_1280 had this in mind for a while, thinking I’d do a book in my “Issues of Life” series with a similar title. I’m starting here though.

My definition of a “baboon” vary, but center around undesirable characters.

In this Tuesday features for the next forty Tuesdays, we will meet different species of baboons. Giving the heading by year does not mean it is a chronicle of the years married, and each year will feature a different “baboon.” Along the line, you may see a baboon feature more than once.

Please know these species of baboons manifest in our characters, and an otherwise nice person may have baboon traits. Lol.

Exposing these traits should help us know them, and if we see them in us or our partners, decide if it’s something we want to spend the next forty years or more, living with. Because I am yet to see a baboon character change.

Please comment and share your stories – have you dated a baboon character before?

TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – MY ONE-ARM SAVIOR

knife-204832_1280 resizedI folded my slim calves under my bum and gasped as each hurtful word proceeded forth through Aunt Irene’s feeble voice. She never said detestable things to people and she was the favorite of my mother’s six sisters.
My lips trembled without control. “Are you sure, Aunt Irene?”
“Have I e’er lahd to ya child?”
“What do I do?”
She folded her 90-year-old claws in her woolen quilt. “Pray. That’s what ya mah taut ya. Pray. Hard.”
My husband of twenty-eight years caught fondling a twenty-something-year-old blond in Aunt Irene’s garage couldn’t be tales by moonlight. She knew what she saw.
Greg had been coming by the house to do small repairs for almost fifteen years. My mom had lived with her only surviving sister since dad died and we’d done everything to pay back my aunt’s hospitality because Mom needed the company. After Mah’s death, Greg continued to help as community service, was what he called it.
“I am going to confront him.” I stood. “Thanks for telling me—”
A wrinkled but strong hand shot out from under the quilt and pulled me back into my seat. “You will do no such thehn!”
Driving home tears blurred my eyes. Marriage to Greg had been great. Everyone saw us as the perfect couple. Though since our two daughters left home, things had been a bit strained but our pastor told us it was to be expected. It was time to develop new cultures, create new interests. We were hands-on working-parents type and it had been fun doing things together all those years. But in the last five years, everything seemed to have wound down.
Even at fifty-eight, Greg was in top form, and worked hard at the information technology company he built from scratch. He’d made a lot of millions in the last twenty years and still made. We lived well. I was happy.
Till—to be sincere, five years ago.
I parked my 2015 BMW X5 in the garage and sat in for five minutes to have my fill of tears. A small voice consoled me from within – maybe Aunt Irene saw wrong. Her eyes were old, I told myself. But she had never said such a thing and in the morning before Greg left home, we’d had another fight caused by a silly argument.
It was late, and he still wasn’t back. Well, Aunt Irene called me a few minutes after he left her house. That would have been three hours ago. He was supposed to be home but his car wasn’t.
Satisfied with a lie my aunt was mistaken, I walked into our beautiful townhouse in Mount Pleasant. The house held too many memories of love, peace and joy, though the 4-bed, 4-bath home was now too large for Greg and I.
My phone rang, and I picked it without thought.
“Frances!” Lolly, Greg’s secretary of ten years sounded frantic.
I frowned. “Lolly?”
“Greg has been in an auto accident.” Lolly burst into tears. “He’s been taken to the emergency room. You need to come over—I have to…”
I didn’t wait to get any more information. I broke the speed limit and ran through the doors of ER. A doctor’s assistant attended to me a few minutes later.
Greg was in surgery.
The next few hours seemed like eternity. Lolly joined me with her husband, Phil, and we held hands to pray for my husband.
As we waited the hours out, I demanded to know the details. Lolly had it. Every single dirty tale.
Were her words worse than Aunt Irene’s? I couldn’t decide.
“He took her to New York City.” Lolly sighed. “To buy her an engagement ring.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “You knew about—an affair?”
Lolly bit her lips. “It wasn’t my place, Frances.”
“We are friends!” I cried. But I needed to hear this in full. I swallowed. “So? What happened? Was she in the accident as well?”
“No.” Lolly reached out to me. I shrank back. “I’m so sorry, Fran—”
“Just tell me what happened!”
“He crashed just right after he dropped her at her home in Patterson. Trying to avoid a drunk. She saw it all and called 911.” Lolly looked away. “And called me too.”
I looked around the waiting area. No twenty-something-year-old was in sight. I could commit murder at the moment.
Several hours later, Greg was taken out of the OR. His left arm had been taken out from the shoulder socket. The limb had been damaged beyond repair.
Whatever consequences of infidelity seemed to visit our family sooner than later. I couldn’t confront Greg in the next few months. We had to work together to get him well again. I was always by his side. I read the Bible to him, and prayed with him.
The girls came for more regular visits, and Mary, our first had her fiancée along a good number of times.
Those early months were dark and depressing. Greg had always been a fashion-forward man, and he had more than enough to indulge his tastes. Despite a well-crafted prosthetic arm designed by Nascott, Greg preferred to hang his left shirt, and made jokes about being one-armed.
What came of this horrible tragedy? I got my husband back. We bonded like never before. Projects we’d pushed aside returned to focus. We played a lot of the games we previously enjoyed and had friends and family over.
Every important date became a carnival. Life was fickle. It could be gone in the twinkle of an eye. Our relationship with God became stronger. Joy filled our home.
On Greg’s fifty-ninth birthday seven months later, Lolly walked over to me with a glass of wine. We had a poolside party, and barbecue.
“You wonder what happened to the girl with the ring?” Lolly winked. How couldn’t I have forgiven her, anyway?
I scoffed. “I never got to find out.”
“She fizzled away.” Lolly clicked my glass and walked off with a giggle.

MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – #ACHSAH

110416“This is not a challenge I can by-pass. It is a must for me. I don’t have to consider it twice. Nor do I have to spy the land. I have sought the face of my God, and I believe He has given me the blessing.”
Achsah stared at his throat as he spoke. What struck her at first was his voice. Rich, confident, soft.

Othniel, the son of Uncle Kenaz, her father’s brother.

She had never imagined he had interest in her. He was quiet, reserved in his own way, a fiery warrior, and a true son of Israel.
He wanted her? She couldn’t laugh. Or he wanted the land. That hurt. If he was doing this for her, she would be flattered.
What if he just wanted the land.
This came the following morning at the ritualistic breakfast meeting. She stole glances at him because it was indecent to stare. She could feel the vibrations from Hadassah who sat beside her. Her friend must think she had caught a big fish indeed. She could hear the statement, “I told you,” though Hadassah said not a word.
Othniel wanted the land? And in essence, if he got it, which was a given, her?
She had always feared getting married to a man who didn’t love her. As much as her people were the chosen of the almighty God, they still committed grievous sins of adultery, and wife battery. She didn’t want to end up with the wrong man.
But Othniel! He was a prince of Israel. She’d heard many young women long after him. He was her cousin, but she never imagined…
“I will go up as soon as I am prepared myself. And may the God of our fathers go with me.”
A loud chorus followed his prayer, “Amen!”
She looked at him again, and this time caught his dark gaze.
Surely he wanted her!

TO WHERE THE WIND BLEW

 To Where the Wind Blew cover croppedCHAPTER 5 

 

About six months after the unique show, Ronke went out on her weekly Saturday shopping with Modele.

The sun was up but not scorching. It was a perfect day for an outing. She always did her shopping in the morning since she had to be at work in the afternoon and the day looked promising and lively.

On this fateful day, she had just finished with Modele tagging along, and about to cross the road when the little girl bumped into a bread hawker. The hawker, who was just as carried away, and caught unawares tried to balance up, but two loaves of bread fell into the gutter behind her. The girl went hysterical.

“Give me my money o!” she screamed, and grabbed Ronke’s clothes. Poor Modele clung to her mother behind and sobbed as Ronke tried to calm the hawker.

“It’s alright, I’ll pay you your money.” She sighed. “How much is it anyway?”

“Two big loafs is N140,” the girl said.

Ronke ransacked her bag. She realized she had only N50. Money she planned to pay for the taxi back home.

“Please, I have only N50 here but—”

“No o, you better give me my money now.” The girl clutched her dress.

By now, viewers had gathered all around them watching the show.

“I will give you. Please let me go back into the market and see one of my customers to loan me the—” Ronke tried to explain, close to tears.

Modele sobbed aloud, as she clung to her mother’s clothes. But despite the pitiful scene Ronke and her daughter presented, the bread hawker refused to budge, screaming and calling them names.

From nowhere, a black Mercedes Benz CE 300 came to a halt by the roadside, close to them and KE got out of it. Ronke’s whole system came to a halt as she saw her big boss approach the scene. She knew he did not know her personally, and she just prayed he would pass and go his way, but he headed directly toward her, his gaze transfixed on her.

She knew she was in trouble. From her knowledge of him, KE hated undue publicity, and could even sack an employee if the publicity could in anyway mar the image of his business. She quickly thought of a way to save the situation and started pleading tearfully with the bread hawker as KE pushed his way through the small crowd.

He fixed his gaze on Ronke. “What is the problem here?”

“Ur, sir I—I am—”

“Hey, see just give me my money o!” the hawker screeched, tightening her hold on Ronke’s blouse.

KE turned to her. “How much is your money?”

N140.”

KE opened his wallet and brought out a crisp N200 note and handed it over to the girl who collected it, hissed, picked up her bread tray, and tottered away.

The crowd also dispersed, murmuring. Ronke stood there, right in from of him, Modele clung to her, the two of them sobbed. Teju had told her KE was good with faces but that he could recognize her face, puzzled her. He had seen her only once before, or so she thought.

She wiped the tears, and looked down at her fingers, too ashamed to face him, too afraid to hear his verdict. With only the two of them left alone, she thought the ground should open up and swallow her.

“Where are you going?” His voice was electrifying.

“Home, sir,” Ronke whispered.

“I’ll drop you off,” he said and turned around, heading back toward his car. Ronke followed him like a zombie.

“I don’t usually take this road but I guess you were just fortunate today,” he said as he smoothly swerved back on to the road.

Ronke did not know what to make of him. He was so relaxed with her.  To think that she was sitting right beside him in his car was beyond her wildest imaginations. She had never seen him so close and wasn’t too surprised about what she saw now.

Casually clad in beige Bermuda shorts and a cool olive-green T-shirt, he looked even younger than she thought.

“What’s your name?” He interrupted her thoughts.

“Ronke Gade, sir.”

“Shy Ronke, will you describe your house to me?”

“Yes sir.” She nodded and quickly gave him a brief description of her house.

“Do you work on weekends?”

“Yes sir, but only on Saturdays.”

“Why don’t you work on Sundays?”

“Sir?” She was puzzled. The man was a workaholic. Teju had told her the truth about him.

“Why don’t you work on Sundays?”

“I spend the day with my daughter sir, after church.”

“I see, so you have a daughter?”

She shot him a glance. “Yes sir.” Anyway, she wasn’t too surprised at his question. Modele did not resemble her, and she looked too young anyway. “She’s the one with me, sir.”

“Really?” He gasped. “What’s your name, young lady?”

“Modele,” she said with a small voice.

“Hmn, as shy as her mother. At least, she resembles you at that.” He looked at her and for the first time, their eyes met. Ronke immediately looked away.

“What are you doing tonight? I mean after work.”

His question was unexpected. She fumbled in her thought and came out with a stammer. “Sir—nothing, sir.”

“Have dinner with me?” he said casually.

“Sir—”

“Where do you keep Modele when you’re at work?”

“With my parents, sir.”

“So it’s alright if we drop her with them while we go out?”

The coolness within the car seemed warm. “Well, yes sir.”

“So, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

“Alright, sir,” she whispered.

He half-smiled. “I’ll pick you up by 7pm and you know I’m very strict on time.”

The rest of the day was history as Ronke desperately tried to concentrate on her work.

She couldn’t stop thinking about what to wear, and what the dinner really meant. She told her parents she would pick Modele late, and after work, rushed home to get ready. After much searching and choosing, she finally decided to wear a blue voile caftan she had sewn for herself. It was the best in her wardrobe.

KE arrived at her place at exactly 7pm, and she was only glad she was ready. He had changed from his day-wear but looked just as casual in denims and white polo-neck t-shirt. From the way he looked at her, he didn’t seem to agree with her outfit but said nothing about it.

“I was just trying to figure out what I would do to you if you were not ready,” he said with a smile.

“Sir, I know you are very time-conscious,” she said.

They had dinner in one corner of town she had never been before in a small, cozy restaurant. The night air was fresh and cool and so relaxing. Inside, Ronke was almost sure they were the only ones in the restaurant throughout the outing. The food was good, and there was slow music in the background. The atmosphere was conducive.

“I want to commend your work, the eagle-maid. It is very unique and creative,” he said over dessert.

She smiled shyly. “Thank you, sir.”

“I get drawn irresistibly to gifted, talented people. I guess you’re one of them.” he continued.

“Actually sir, that design was Modele’s invention. I just simply modified it,” Ronke said.

He leaned back. “So she’s also as gifted as you are? That’s good. It’s strange though that a child would resemble her mother in everything else apart from looks.”

“I agree with you, sir.”

“So you are married.” It sounded like a statement of fact.

“No, sir,” she whispered.

“You know, I also have a son, an eight-year-old, who is highly intelligent.” He switched the topic to himself, and she let out a silent sigh of relief.

“You don’t look like a married man, sir.”

“Huh, but I wear my ring always,” he said and her gaze fell to his left hand.

His wedding band was right there on his fourth finger. But why was he taking her out, instead of his wife.

“I never noticed sir, maybe because I felt you look too young to be a father,” she said and he laughed.

He took a sip from his glass of water. “See who’s talking. Has anybody ever told you, you are too young to be a mother?”

“Several people, sir.”

“So here we go! How old is Modele?”

“She’s five, sir!”

“Five! You had her in secondary school?”

“Yes sir.”

“And her father? Where is he?”

“I—ur em—”

“You don’t want to talk about it?”

“No sir.” She looked down at her fingers as ugly memories flashed across her mind.

“I understand. Things do happen beyond our control, at times, like what happened earlier today to you,” he said, his voice laced with laughter.

Ronke giggled. “Ooh sir, I feel ashamed. I want to really thank you for rescuing me. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come along.”

“It’s alright, I’m glad I came along. I know you weren’t expecting that I would know you.”

“Yes sir. I was really surprised.”

“You won’t believe this but I can recognize most of my staff if I have met them once or twice, especially if they impressed me at the first meeting.”

“I thought you were going to sack me immediately.”

“Huh, I’m not that bad. And things were not serious. Actually, I had been on the lookout for you. You are very attractive to me in the sense that you are new, and yet your design could still win something,” he said.

“I feel flattered, sir.”

“That’s not flattery, it’s the truth. Anyway, what do you do in your spare time?”

“Well, I sometimes play Ludo, sir. Or—”

He laughed. “Ludo? With who? Modele?”

Ronke smiled. “Yes, sir.”

“Okay then, what would you say if I come over to your place to play Ludo, tomorrow night? Or do you play with Modele only?”

“No sir, but…play Ludo with you, sir?”

He arched his eyebrow. “Well, why not?”

She blinked several times, and took a large gulp of the water in her glass.

He was at her house the following evening and after a couple of rounds of Ludo game, of which she won all, she served him dinner.

“I’ll be going to Ghana tomorrow evening. I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he told her afterwards.

“Do you also have business there, sir?”

“Yes, and my son is also schooling there.”

She took courage to ask. “Your son? But why Ghana sir?”

“Well, his mother is half-Ghanaian and you know women, they usually have their way with you.”

“Okay.” Ronke sighed. “Is he there with his mother?”

“I didn’t say that! He’s in a boarding school. Anyway, what does it matter whether he is at home or not. The important thing is that he is learning.”

Ronke was confused about the way he addressed his marital life. She didn’t have any interest in him but something kept her glued. He looked familiar, and somehow, she felt she had known him all her life, and yet she was so sure she had not seen him anywhere before. And anyway, why was he relaxed with her? She didn’t want any relationship with any man, even KE. She had lost her youthful pride to the worst of them and could trust one no longer.

“How old are you?”

His abrupt question jolted her out of her wandering thoughts. “Twenty-two.”

She normally wouldn’t disclose her age to anyone, but this was her boss. She feared him anyhow, and her mind kept her informed he was the Big Boss! She didn’t dare mess with him, because she wasn’t too sure of what his interest was all about. She had to remind herself she needed the job to maintain herself and her daughter. As the boss, he had access to any information he wanted about her anyhow. All he had to do was request for her file.

“You had Modele when you were seventeen?!” he said. “Hmm, what happened exactly?”

She frowned. “Sir, I don’t want to—”

“Tell me” he said, gently but firmly. He had such a command about him it was almost impossible not to answer his questions.

“I was raped.” Her throat worked up, and tears burned the back of her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “You must hate that guy and men generally.” She nodded, too confused to speak.

“I wonder what you’ll do, if the guy walks in now, and declares himself.”

What kind of statement was that? Why would he care?

“I’ll spit in his face, and run out of here, away from him.”

He sighed. “It’s a pity that you’ve been so badly treated.”