Joseph was strolling along the road in search of a cab to take him home when he heard soft fall of footsteps behind him and he slowed down a bit to know who it was. A woman fell into steps with him and he knew without looking who it was. “Is there anything I can do for you?” He asked in a cool voice without sparing her a glance and didn’t see her wince. “Can we be friends for tonight?” Rebecca asked quietly and he felt humbled. “I’m sorry.” He muttered to himself. “Apologies accepted. I would love to tender one for my saucy attitude the other day.” She said with a smile and he nodded to her in acceptance. They walked in companionable silence, each lost in their individual thought. “You should have told me you are going somewhere before I left the house and I would have taken you before leaving the house.” He said casually as he turned to glance at her. “I know. I just needed to get away from home.” She said with a shrug and looked at him. “What is wrong? You look worried.’ She asked quietly. “I’m fine. There is nothing wrong with me.” He said with a smile. A cab drove by and he flagged it down. He got inside and Rebecca hopped in beside him. “Where do you think you are going, Rebecca? I am going home.” He told her in an unfriendly voice. “Well, I will leave you alone when you tell me what is wrong with you and don’t tell me you are fine because you are not. You nearly drove us to our death this afternoon. “She told him in a calm voice and he stared at her in exasperation. “I sincerely apologized for that or what else do you want? I said I am fine and nothing is wrong with me.” He said coldly. “You are still not telling the truth. It is a great night and a nice opportunity to see your dirty room.” She looked out through the window at the moving vehicles and glanced back at him with a smile. His lips twitched in amusement but he refused to smile back and sat back with a resigned sigh. They both enlightened from the cab when it reached his destination and he paid the cab fare for both of them.
“So you have seen my house and my area, don’t you think it is right time you turn around and go back home?” He asked with barely restrained anger, exasperated at the fact that he had to pay extra transport fare because of her nosiness. “Are you angry because I am here or because you have to pay my transport fare?” She asked as she faced him. “Both. You have no business being here. What do you want me to tell your parent or your fiancée if they find out you are with me at this hour in this unsafe area?” He tried to appeal to her reasoning side and she looked around at the poor neighborhood with gutters running in front of the houses. “I am an adult and I am responsible for my actions. Why is it unsafe for me and it is safe for you to live there?” She asked in a puzzled voice. “I give up. You are welcome to my simple abode, Miss Badmus.” He said politely as he climbed up the short flight of steps and walked into the dimly lit corridor of the face to face building. Rebecca didn’t bother to answer as she followed behind at a slow pace, taking in the environment as she moved along. He stopped in front of a room on the right side and knocked briefly before pushing the door open.
Naomi moved away from the window where she had been watching her son and his boss’s daughter and went to lie on the bed in her room before they came in. “How are you, mum?” Joseph said warmly as he gave his mother a bear hug and kissed her on both cheek. “I’m fine. How is work today?” She smiled as she pulled his nose playfully. Rebeca watched the easy display of affection between mother and son from the bedroom doorway and tried to relate this Joseph to the efficient and expert but distant one she knew when he was at work. She moved from the doorway and went to sit on the other side of the Naomi. The woman looked more like his elder sister, rather than his mother and there was no resemblance between the two of them, Rebecca observed as she looked from one to the other .Naomi turned to look at her and turned back to her son with questions in her eyes. He glared at her and she met his gaze with a raised eyebrow that secretly pleased his mother, then he introduced the two women.
“Good evening ma. I have to say you look too young to be his mother and there is no resemblance between the two of you” Rebecca said with a smile as she hugged the older woman. Joseph gritted his teeth at her boldness but kept quiet. “That is because Joseph is the spitting image of his father. Thanks for the compliment. You are beautiful.” Naomi patted her back and drew back to admire her. Joseph got to his feet and stood behind his mother to give Rebecca a warning glance. She took the cue and refrained from asking more questions, even though she was dying to know everything about him. “Why didn’t you take your mum to the hospital if she is not feeling well?” Rebecca looked at him. “There is nothing wrong with my mother and I think you should keep your nose out of my business.” He said coolly as he stared down at her and she decided not to respond when she realized the older woman was watching her with interest. “Well, if it is finance that is the issue, you could ask for an advance of your salary. It would go a long way in taking care of her till you could come up with something else.” She suggested instead and he had to commend her tact. “I guess you are right. Thank you.” He said shortly and she grinned at him. “You are welcome.” She glanced at her slim wrist-watch and got to her feet. “I have to get back home now as it is late but I will check on you again before the week runs out.” She promised. “Thank you, Becky but I’m already feeling better. My best regards to your parent.” Naomi replied with a smile and watched her walk out of the room, followed by her son at a respectable distance.
“Where were you last night, Becky? I called your mobile phone but there was no response and I called Lizzy who told me you were out.” Roseline asked in a puzzled voice. “I went on a stroll with a friend. Are you missing me already?” Rebecca stretched her body lazily under the bedspread and her friend frowned at the other end. “Of course I miss you. When did you start going on strolls and who did you went out with at that hour?” Roseline came back to the subject she was avoiding. “Well, we nearly had an accident yesterday and I decided to find out what was the root cause of it as I know it was unusual of him.” Rebecca said and proceeded to narrate the whole event to her friend. “So you are acting the good employer, right?” Roseline said with a grin. “Something like that. I’m getting the feeling that dad does not want me to work?” Rebecca confided to her friend what had been bothering her mind since she got back to Nigeria and Roseline noted the fact that she had changed the subject once again. “Are you serious? Are you sure that was not your fiancée’s idea?” Roseline said casually and she frowned as she sat up straight. “Why would you say that?” She asked even as she knew it was possible because it had been the cause of their first fight. “You told me once that you guys had an argument over it and now your father is changing his mind all of a sudden. I will talk to you later, babe. A call just came in on my emergency line.” Roseline cut off the call before she could reply and she put her own phone away very slowly.
She knew Lizzy and Roseline doesn’t like Ramsey and couldn’t think of a reason for their unreasonable dislike for her fiancée. Ramsey was the youngest son of a prominent and well known lawyer in the country, Justice Daniel Williams and she had liked him right from the first time they met. He had taken both her and Roseline to the movies on their first date and she had enjoyed his company a lot and had agreed to a second date before the first one even ended. However, Roseline had taken instant dislike to him and hadn’t hid her impression about him which had caused their first real row. After that, Roseline never discussed him again and refused to comment on whatever she told her about him. She had to admit it got to her as they were the two closest people to her but she was happy when Ramsey and her father got on so well.
Rebecca woke up to the consistent ringing of the phone and yawned loudly as she picked up her call. It was Ramsey on the line and his words jutted her straight out of the remnant of sleep.
An hour later, Rebecca got into the Car and drove to her father’s office. He was on the phone when she walked in but she sat down in front of him and waited till he was through. “How may I help you, Becky? Can’t you wait till I get home tonight?” B.B said impatiently as he sat back in his seat. “I’m sorry but it can’t. Is it true that you just gave Ramsey a job in your company?” She asked calmly. “Do you have any problem with that?” He raised an eye brow to her. “Dad, did he ask for your assistance in getting a job or you just did it out of the goodness of your heart?” She asked angrily. “I have a vacancy suitable for him and I gave it to him because he is qualified for the position. Tell me what is wrong with that.” He said as he stared steadily at his daughter. “Will you sack him if I decide not to marry him again?” It was her turn to raise an eyebrow to her father. “I have not raise a wayward daughter. A ki mo oko omo ki a tun mo ale e, you don’t dare.” Her father said coldly. “What do you mean, Dad? I introduced him to you as my fiancée and I might decide to let him go for whatever reason.” She said off-handedly and her father’s eyes narrowed to a slit. “When did you start doubting your relationship with Ramsey, Becky? You want to start messing around like your younger sister, isn’t it?” He said disgustingly. “How can you say that, Dad? You should know I have a reason for whatever I do and I am not like Lizzy.” She said indignantly. “Now, listen real good. I need someone to be my heir, to take over from me when I retire and none of you girls is touring my line, not to talk of taking over from me.” He paused. “Lizzy is in your line, Dad. It is only she is still young and you are not retiring now, are you?” She asked sharply. ‘Lizzy does not strike me as the reliable and serious type, even if she is old enough to take over. It would have been you, Becky but you went your own way and I don’t fault you for that.” He said quietly and she was at a loss for what to say because she knew he was right. She sighed inaudibly. “Ramsey is everything I want in a son and son-in-law and I’m going to hand over to him. If you don’t marry him, Becky, you won’t have access to my possessions.” He said firmly and she stared at him in disbelieve and shock!
She just came back from one of her evening strolls when she heard raised voices from the Car garage and moved towards it in time to see her sister stormed out of the place. “What is going on, Lizzy?” Rebecca put her hands out to stop her but she brushed it away. “Go and ask that idiot in there.” Lizzy hissed as she moved past and ran into the house. Rebeca walked into the car garage and saw Joseph sitting on a car bonnet, clad in only black faded jean and laughing his heart out! “What is so blasted funny, joe?” Rebecca asked in a cold voice. “What do you want to know?” He grinned at her and she felt the level of her anger increasing rapidly. “You can wipe that stupid grin off your face and give me a decent answer.” She countered sharply with a hand on her hip. “What is with you anyway? You are so judgmental wherever I’m concerned and that does not speak well of you. You don’t know what happened and you are already judging me.” He said quietly and watched her face closely. “What is wrong with you?” He asked and she turned away. “There is nothing wrong with me.” She said, even she remembered he had uttered the same words to her a few weeks ago. She tried to smile at the memory and sighed instead. “Do you care to talk about it? A problem shared is half solved.” He pulled her by the wrist and lifted her effortlessly unto the car bonnet. “Thank you for the concern but you can’t help with this particular issue. It is totally personal.” She grinned at him and burst into laughter when he raised an eye brow at her. “That sounds better and you look more relax now.” He smiled back. “Thank you.” She said simply and watched his face. You are the root of my problem, she thought forlornly and sighed again. “Stop doing that. Everything will be fine eventually.” He squeezed her hand in assurance and leaned over to place a peck on her cheek. She turned her face abruptly and his lips brushed her own. They both stood still as they stared at each other. Physical attraction hummed strongly between them. “Damn! This is so wrong.” He murmured under his breath, even as he moved to stand between her legs. “This is crazy.” She began in a whisper even as she leaned forward and noted that his heart was thudding rapidly beneath her palms. “It is.” He agreed as he fitted his mouth over hers and kissed her. She slipped her arms round his neck to draw him closer and responded to his kiss as all thoughts drained from her.
“Becky, where are you? I have been waiting for you and I need to leave now.” Ramsey’s voice penetrated the fog of passion between them and Joseph stepped away abruptly. She slipped to the floor and tried to balance herself on the uneven tiles. “I am right here.” Her voice came out in a croak and she coughed slightly to clear it. She glanced at Joseph who stared back at her without an expression on his face and walked out in time to meet Ramsey at the entrance of the Car garage. “What are you doing in the dark?” He asked as he draped his arm possessively over shoulder and she tried not to shrug it off. “I went for a stroll. You didn’t tell me you are coming.” She said in a faintly accusing voice. “Do I have to make an announcement before I visit my wife to be?” Ramsey teased but she didn’t smile. They moved towards the main house and Joseph released the breath he had been holding. That was a close call, Joe! He thought in amusement as he locked up the car and prepared to go home.
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