Was he just like all the rest. Waiting to pounce or could she trust him.He tried again. “Can I come and pick you up next week and maybe we will go to another restaurant. Maybe watch a film.”
She shook her head. “I don’t really think this is wise Tony. You are the son of the MD and people will start talking. It might not mean much to you but having a good reputation means a lot to me.”
He smiled again. “I’ve heard only good things about youAdafrom all quarters. I can assure you that you have a reputation for being a hard worker, efficient, dedicated and punctual.”
She looked at him and her face was hard. “I worked hard to get that reputation and I intend to keep it.”
“But of course….”
She hadn’t finished. “I’m not one of those girls who mess around. I will not compromise myself with anyone to get ahead in life. I firmly believe that hard work and trust in God will bring promotion in the end.”
Tony smiled. He got it. She was reading him the riot Act. “Really.”
She met his eyes. “I’m not stupid. . Trust me. I know nothing goes for nothing in this world. I’m not that kind of girl who will drop into your arms because of your money and your connections. I don’t care what you do.” Her face was distant and closed, as if she had gone back into herself.” If this is why I got the promotion to Trainee Manager – you can take your job back.”
He shook his head slowly. “I get it. You thought I was going to demand that you sleep with me and if you refused …your job would be on the line.”
He sighed and let his hands fall to his sides. “What kind of man do you think I am? Do you think I need to use my Fathers name and influence to get a woman? “
She shrugged. “I don’t know you. All I know is that you’re rich and successful and that means you can get anything you want. Most men in your position do that. How was I to know you were anything different?”
He looked at her for a long time and then sighed. “Ada. Don’t tan all of us with the same brush as Mr Obi.”
“We are friends Ada…you are one of the first people I spoke to when I started work here. I asked for the truth and you told me your mind.”
She nodded her eyes on his face.
“We will talk next week – back at work. Besides. I can see your chaperone – that old lady that fries Yam. I don’t think she likes me very much. What have you told her about me?
I don’t believe you. His eyes twinkled and he was walking back to his car.
Tony drove home and pondered on the night’s events.
He saw it in her eyes. The fear, the worry of being destitute, of not being able to support herself or her family or finish her degree. All depending on whether she could give herself to any man, who had the authority to sack her, fail her exam or throw her out of his house onto the road.
He wondered about these men. Did they get their kicks out of making vulnerable young ladies give in to their perverted desires?
He was sure that his Father tried to make sure it wasn’t common practice at City Finance – it was a big company and there were probably some members of staff who weren’t adverse to that kind of stuff. Like the infamous Mr Obi. Not his Dad though. He was a stickler for things like that. The whole idea of men whether they were Managers, lecturers or any one in any position of power using that to make a woman sleep with them was immoral and pathetic
Sweet Ada. There was something incredibly appealing about her. Something tough yet gentle and vulnerable. Something serious minded yet with a fantastic sense of humour. Fearful yet bold enough to tell him that she would not compromise her destiny for temporary gain.
He couldn’t allow himself to be serious about her. They weren’t in the same social strata. He was supposed to take someone like her and lead her on, get the goods, dump and then move on. Marriage had to be with another young rich girl. He was sure his Mother was scouting for another Mrs Okpara even though he had told her not to bother.
So why do I feel so detached about the whole thing. Maybe because I never loved Gloria in the first place. Maybe he had just been going through the motions to please his parents.
Women were too complicated. Work, the world of finance, mergers, acquisitions, and shares were his domain. Women could sometimes provide temporary solace from all that and in the past he had let himself embrace the technicalities without getting his mind or heart involved.
Who was thisAdawho could look at him and make him want to move the whole world just to be near her? A few years ago he would have pursued her relentlessly, used her and moved on but now he found himself really caring about her, he realised that she meant more than just a cute face and desirable body.
This might just be the one.