Sandra stood at the gate that led to the office for some time because she didn’t know how to explain things to Jesse. She knew Jesse would be expecting an answer from her which she wasn’t ready to answer. She mustered courage and entered the office only to see Jesse sitting on the office desk upright facing her. She became petrified by the process.
“Won’t you close the door?” Jesse asked. Sandra still became mute. She moved and occupied her seat in the office trying her best to avoid eye contact with Jesse. “Sandra, you seem not to be yourself today. What is the matter? I have been trying severally to contact you, but all to no avail,” Jesse inquired. Sandra managed to put herself together to reply Jesse.
“I have been around, Jesse,” she replied.
“Around!? I have been to your house on several occasions and I always meet your absence. What is going on with you? You are behaving strange of late,” said Jesse.
“Jesse, I said I am fine. I was still recovering and needed time for myself. That is why you haven’t been hearing from me of late. I am sorry,” Sandra lied. Jesse looked at her for some time, sighed and continued
“so do you remember what we discussed the last time we met?” Jesse asked.
“Yes, I remember,” Sandra replied.
“And you promised me you were going to think about it. I guess you have had enough time to consider my proposal?” Inquired Jesse.
“Not really, Jesse. I am still thinking about it,” Sandra replied.
“Still thinking? Oh, Sandra! I thought we had some sort of connection. I thought the proposal would have just been a formality for us to build something together. I don’t understand why you are dragging your feet,” Jesse lamented.
Sandra became uncomfortable when she realized Jesse was becoming emotional with the whole thing. Part of her wanted to confess to Jesse that she was dating Desmond while the other part wanted to keep it a secret. She knew she would lose Jesse immediately she confessed. She was so confused at what to do or how to reply Jesse.
Luckily for Sandra, she was saved by Jesse’s phone. Jesse got a call while waiting for Sandra to answer his question. The call was from Theodora. Jesse didn’t want to receive the call in the presence of Sandra so he went outside to speak to her.
“Hello, Theodora. Please I am at…” Jesse heard her crying before he could complete his sentence. “What is the problem? Why are you crying?” Jesse asked.
“I can’t take it anymore, Jesse! I can’t Just take it!! He is ruining my life! Can you imagine he sacked me from our matrimonial bed only to be replaced that animal!! I need a way out, Jesse,” said Theodora in tears.
“Calm down ,Theodora. Listen, this is what we are going to do. I want you to meet me at the coffee shop near my workplace. Let us discuss everything properly there,” suggested Jesse.
“What time, please?” Theodora asked.
“You can leave the house now. I have nothing doing at present. I can meet you,” said Jesse.
Jesse hung up the call and went back into the office. Sandra was sitting in the office thinking about what to tell Jesse if he should return. It was undeniable that she was attracted to Jesse. But, she was committed to Desmond. She had been trying all her best to fall in love with Desmond, but all to no avail. She thought she would with time. To Sandra, Desmond was a nice guy who deserved the best. He needed someone who would love him and reciprocate his tenderheartedness. Thinking about it, it was selfish for her to be holding on to Desmond while her heart lies with Jesse. She reasoned that if she wasn’t careful, she might lose both of them. She had to make the right decision and make it as fast as possible before she loses everything. And the first thing she was going to do was to talk to Desmond and make him understand the situation. She would then tell Jesse the truth and accept his proposal.
“Sandra, I have to meet someone right now. I will be back soon. Please go over the files I worked on yesterday to see if I did everything right. And don’t forget, I will come back for my answer, Jesse said.
“Don’t worry, your answer will be ready the next time we speak about the subject,” Sandra replied. Jesse smiled, took some things from his desk and went out of the office to meet Theodora.
Sandra saw the opportunity to speak to Desmond when Jesse went out of the office .
“Hello, Desmond. How are you doing?” Sandra asked when Desmond picked the call.
“You know I am doing well, sweetheart. Ever since you came into my life, everything has been working perfectly,” Desmond responded.
“Hmmm… Desmond we need to meet and talk. We need to have a discussion, “said Sandra.
“Talk about? I was just with you this morning. You are sounding too serious on the phone. Can’t we talk about it on phone?” Desmond asked.
“Please let us meet over lunch and talk. The time for lunch break is almost due. What I want to discuss cannot be done on phone,” said Sandra.
Desmond had to agree to that since he was so anxious to know what Sandra wanted to discuss with him that couldn’t be done on phone.
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Jesse met with Theodora at the coffee shop. They exchanged pleasantries the moment they met. Theodora started crying immediately she saw Jesse. Jesse tried his best to comfort her.
“Have you come up with anything, Jesse?” Theodora asked.
“I have been thinking about this for some time now, Theodora. The only thing that came in mind was that, you should report the matter to your parents and then to the police. He is tormenting and threatening you, my dear. Your parents and the police should know about it before he carries out his threats one day,” Jesse advised.
“I have thought about that, Jesse. But, the shame! The public ridicule!! I don’t think I have the capacity for that,” Theodora said.
“And do you have the capacity for what he is doing to you?” Jesse inquired.
“No!” Theodora answered.
“Good! That is why you need to do what I am saying as soon as possible. They may say they advised and you didn’t listen, but come-on, they are your parents. They will do anything to make sure you are okay, “ said Jesse.
Theodora thought about what Jesse said and realized it was a good idea. She had to inform the police and her parents. She had gone through enough torments under the roof of Newman. It was about time she stood up for herself before she goes to her early grave. Thoughts about committing suicide had flooded her memory for some time and she knew she would act on those thoughts with time. She went into a pensive mood for something and Jesse knew that she was thinking deeply about what he said.
“Thank you very much, Jesse for the advice. I think I should be on my way now,” said Theodora. Jesse was shocked at that statement.
“why?” he asked.
“You just gave me an advice and I need to act on it now! I am going to see my parents from here. I have to tell them everything. I can’t keep all these things from them,” Theodora said and took her leave.
Sandra met Desmond during her break time. He was so anxious to know what Sandra had to say that couldn’t be said on phone. Had she gotten herself into another trouble? Had she been fired? These thoughts ran through Desmond’s mind while he stared at Sandra waiting for her to start the conversation.
“Desmond, say something. You are making me nervous,” said Sandra.
“Me? Making you nervous? You are rather making me feel uncomfortable. You said you wanted us to discuss an issue. So I am waiting for you to commence,” Desmond responded.
Sandra thought she had gathered all the courage to break up with Desmond. But, it seems her courage wasn’t enough to go straight to the point. She looked at Desmond and saw a guy who would do everything possible to make her happy. How could she break such a heart? She felt bad about the decision she had taken earlier. She wondered if she should continue with her mission. They sat across the table an innocent guy who knows nothing except to shower her with love and attention. Who wouldn’t have wished for such a treatment?
Sandra felt terrible about herself. She felt like an insensitive person to even think about breaking up with Desmond.
Upon careful consideration, she thought it wise to spill the beans. There was no way she could continue to be in a relationship with a guy and be thinking about another person. The whole thing made her feel she was cheating and she hated that feeling. She needed to set things straight and that begins with telling Desmond the truth.
“Desmond , you have been so good to me all these years. I want to begin by saying that I appreciate all that you have done for me. The times you were around even when no one was. You are indeed an angel. I never thought that this day would come and it grieves my heart that my fears has finally come to pass.”
Desmond was confused at this point. He didn’t know where Sandra was going with her speech. He initially thought she was appreciating him for all the sacrifices he had made all the years he had been with her, but her diversion into matters of grief really confused him.
“What are you talking about, Sandra? Is someone dead or what?” Desmond asked anxiously.
“Please Desmond, don’t make this harder than it already is,” Sandra responded. Her sharp response stunned Desmond. He remained quiet and only listened to her.
“As I was saying, I have watched you through all these years trying to win my heart. The truth is that, I sincerely wanted to give you my love, but I couldn’t . The more I tried to love you, the more difficult it became. The only feeling I had towards you was that of a big brother. When we met recently due to the accident, I wanted to give it a try. I thought maybe it was fear that was keeping me bound. I thought maybe if I get more intimate, I will come to love you like how you love me. But, that wasn’t the case, Desmond. I have tried, believe me, but all to no avail. I keep thinking of another guy while I am with you. I can’t keep on with this pretense. I can’t watch you any longer investing your time while I know it wouldn’t yield anything. I am in love with someone else ,Desmond. I am sorry, but that is the truth, “ Sandra said and buried her face.
Sandra was expecting Desmond to speak after she was done with what she was saying. She waited for some time, but she didn’t hear anything. She looked up finally to see what was preventing Desmond from speaking. She saw tears streaming down Desmond’s cheek when she looked into his face. Sandra was lost for words at the time. She didn’t know how to handle the situation. There was nothing she could do to help the situation. She couldn’t console Desmond because she was the cause of his pain and she couldn’t also retract what she said because she meant every word of it. Desmond finally broke his silence and spoke.
“Sandra, why would you do this to me? Have I done anything wrong in loving you with my everything. I even loved you in moments when all had forsaken you. What else should I do to prove my love for you. When you accepted my proposal, I thought my dream of having you as my wife had finally come to pass. I didn’t know that it was a mirage. I didn’t know I was daydreaming. You have broken my heart, Sandra. I am deeply hurt by your constant rejection,” Desmond lamented.
Sandra could barely look into the face of Desmond. It was time for her to go back to the office, but she felt glued to her seat. How could she leave Desmond in such a state. Her news had changed his mood drastically. Desmond finally stopped shedding tears and spoke.
“Sandra, I want to let you know that you can’t do away with me. I will never give up on you. Like always, I will be waiting because I know you will come back to me. I will see you later,” Desmond said and went away. Sandra sat in her chair for some time and thought about what had transpired between Desmond and her. Although she felt sorry for doing what she did, she knew in the heart that it was the right thing to do. Now, she was free to follow her heart.
Sandra left the coffee shop to the office. She met Jesse already back at the office. He was sitting in the exact position he had sat in the morning.
“I have been waiting for you, Sandra. So you couldn’t even wait for us to go to lunch together? I told you I will come back for my answer. It has been a longtime and I need to know the way forward,” said Jesse. Sandra walked across the room and sat in her chair.
“Jesse, I have thought about your proposal. I had to make sure I wouldn’t be making a mistake by being with you. The fact that we are in the same office is even a distraction on its own. But, I can’t deny my feelings for you anymore. I have loved you since the day we met and I had secretly wished you will propose some day. I was scared when that day came because of what Jasmine did to me. I am not scared anymore because love conquers all things,” Sandra said. Jesse watched Sandra and listened with a rapt attention while she spoke
He was glad Sandra didn’t turn down his proposal. He got up and hugged her.
“I will always love you, Sandra. I will never let you down. Please, let us keep this fire of love in our hearts burning. We will be the happiest couple ever, “ Jesse said and smiled. They hugged again and separated because they didn’t want any of the workers to chance upon them. Before Jesse could sit, Theodora walked into the office. She jumped on Jesse and hugged him.
“Jesse, you are such a darling. I would have given you a kiss if this wasn’t your workplace for giving me such a brilliant idea. I love you, Jesse. You are my angel,” Theodora said as she still hung on Jesse. Now, Sandra couldn’t believe her eyes and ears. What was happening?
She remembered Theodora as the lady in the portrait that used to hang on Jesse’s wall. What was happening to her minutes old relationship? She got angry and stormed out of the office.
…to be continued