“Where is my desk?” Ephyra asked Harry. The room where her desk used to be was now empty.
“You are not staying in that office anymore,” Harry replied.
“Why?” she asked. He grabbed her by the wrist, and pulled her down the long hallway leading to several offices. “Where are we going?” she asked.
He stopped. “Questions again… don’t you get tired of asking questions?”
He leaned in closely but Ephyra stepped backward. He did it again and she moved away.
“Someone’s coming,” she said.
Harry studied her. “Let’s go,” he ordered.
Two female models appeared in the hallway and they greeted him. He returned the greetings and walked off. Ephyra followed him.
“Boss you haven’t told me where…” He stopped in front of a door. “Ummm…” He opened the door and gestured her to go in. “Me? Why should I go in first?” she asked.
Harry rolled his eyes. “No questions.” He pushed her into the room and closed the door. Ephyra gasped in shock. The room was large and well decorated. “This is our new office,” Harry said.
She glanced around the large room. A big desk and swivel chair with Harry’s name in a glassy object—”Harry Jones: CEO of G.M.A.” To the right side there was another desk and chair with her name in the same object—”Ephyra Adams: Secretary.”
“Our office?” she questioned.
“Yes, that’s your desk.” He pointed.
“But… but why are we sharing the same office?” she asked.
Harry scratched his ear as he thought of what to say to her, he had arranged it like that so he won’t be far away from her. He wanted to see her always, just sitting and watching her closely.
“Your previous secretary was staying in another room,” she countered.
Harry went to his desk. “It’s a new system…CEO and secretary must stay in the same room,” he said.
Ephyra lifted her eyebrows. “Why?”
“For… safety,” he replied.
“Safety? It is not like, I’m your bodyguard,” Ephyra murmured.
“Huh?… Nothing. I was just… talking to myself…” Her voice trailed off and she avoided his gaze.
“You don’t like your desk? I can have them change it to your taste.”
Harry sat in his chair. Ephyra went to her desk. “I like it… I mean it’s nice,” she stuttered. She sat back in her chair and clicked on the system on her desk.
“Press that remote.” He pointed to a black device on her desk. “Press the red button,” he added.
She picked it up and did as he ordered. The TV in the room which she hadn’t noticed came on.
“You can see anyone outside through the TV.”
“Wow,” she whispered. “When did you set up this whole place?”
“Over the weekend.”
“Oh! So those times you left home, to see a cloth designer, you were actually busy here too.”
“I met with the cloth designer Ria Robert and at the same time I was working with the decorators.”
“Yes, she’s a famous designer. You can check her out on the system. There are other designers too, Brian Clothings, Bella Fashion House, etc.”
Ephyra focused on her system. “Password 5202,” he said
She typed it and it unlocked the system. “She’s the first on the list, I mean Ria Robert Couture.”
“Yes, that is because we are working on a project together. I’ll tell you about the project later.”
“Okay.” She kept checking the list on the system.
“I’ll send my schedules to your system.”
“Okay.” He clicked on his system and sent the files to her system. “Got it,” she said
Harry relaxed in his chair. He wondered, why he was reacting to her being here with him. He’d no idea why Ephyra affected him strongly, he found himself smiling as he watched her.
It was time to head home after a long day at work.
“Let’s have dinner before heading home,” Harry said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea boss.”
“We can have dinner at home instead of dropping by at a restaurant.”
She picked up her handbag on the desk, Harry went to her. “You don’t want to go out with me right?” he asked.
Ephyra was silent. She wasn’t interested in going out with Harry to avoid gossips going around the office. Everyone was already whispering behind her back, they were surprised by Harry’s decision of having his secretary in the same room with him. So they’d started thinking of what might be going on between them.
Harry studied her expression. “I’ll understand if you don’t want to go out with me,” Harry said in a low tone, he started to walk to the door.
“Wait!” She went to him. “Don’t misunderstand me.” Harry tucked his right hand into his pocket. “Boss, you know you are a star, people will see us together and get the wrong idea,” she explained without meeting his gaze.
“So what if I change my appearance? Will you come with me?” he asked.
She thought for a while. She knew Harry won’t be happy if she turned him down, she nodded. “Of course,” she answered. His face brightened immediately. “How… how will you change your appearance?”
“My hairstyle, and…” He walked back to his desk. Harry opened his drawer and brought out an eyeglass. “I look different wearing eye glasses.”
“So what about your hair?”
“You have a comb in your handbag?”
“A hairbrush.” She opened her bag and gave him the hairbrush.
“Help me out, I don’t have a mirror.”
Ephyra rolled her eyes. She gestured to him to sit on her chair, she brushed his hair.
His hair fell on his eyes. Harry wore the eyeglass.
“How do I look?” Harry asked.
He opened his eyes, and her breath caught—they were the most beautiful pair of eyes she had ever seen. His eyes stared intensely at her while a smirk played on his lips. His lips were full, and plump.
Ephyra restrained herself from touching his face.
“Nice boss.” She saluted. Harry was gorgeous.
They both walked down the silent hallway. Harry stopped in his tracks on seeing Shawna Brown.
“Hello Harry.” She walked towards them.
“Hi Shawna,” he greeted her. Her gaze drifted to Ephyra. Harry held Ephyra’s hand.
“Shawna meet Ephyra.”
“Your maid?” she said with a smile.
Ephyra looked up at Harry. “She is not my maid,” Harry said with a frown. Ephyra tried to let go of his hand but he held on. Shawna referring to her as a maid didn’t make her happy, and she disliked Shawna immediately.
“Why are you here?” Harry asked in a rough tone. He knew someone must have informed Shawna about Ephyra being his maid.
Eleanor or Mom? he thought.
“I’m here to see you,” she said.
“Well… oh! We were heading out to have dinner,” he said.
Shawna stretched her hand towards Ephyra for an handshake. “I am Shawna Brown,” she said with a fake smile on her lips. Ephyra shook hands with her. Then Shawna turned to Harry. “Can we talk before you leave?”
Harry checked his watch. It was 6:30pm.
“I…I think I need to use the toilet boss,” Ephyra said before Harry could turn Shawna down. She wanted to be away from Shawna cause her intense stare made her uncomfortable. “Excuse me,” she said and stalked off.
Shawna stepped closer to him. “You didn’t give me a call ever since I dropped by at your place,” she said
“I’ve been really busy.”
“Busy with work, or her?” She gestured towards the direction Ephyra went.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m just curious.”
“Shawna, I’ve been busy, that’s all.”
“I met with Eleanor yesterday.”
“So, she told you about Ephyra?”
“Oh, I see.” He nodded
“Is it true?”
“You’re in love with her?”
He stared intensely at her, and he said,
Anger washed over her, she felt his word pierce her heart.
“I thought you never believed in love.”
“Uhmm…. I suppose so.”
“So, what made you change your mind?” He didn’t respond. “Ephyra?” she asked.
“I fell in love, like for the first time I am greatly affected by a woman, I couldn’t believe what my heart was telling me at first, but somehow I did, and now my heart belongs to her,” he confessed.
“She won your heart.”
Then she wondered how Ephyra was able to make Harry fall in love with her. It was something she wasn’t able to achieve when they were together, and even after they reunited after two years. Harry simply ignored her after she admitted that she was in love with him.
“So what about our last discussion?” she asked.
“I gave you my answer Shawna—” He paused. “We can’t be together.”
“I don’t have any feelings for you, and I consider you just as a friend,” he said calmly.
She nodded dejectedly. “Okay, I understand.”
“Thanks,” he said
Shawna faked a smile. “I’ll go ahead now.”
“Bye,” Harry said. She walked away in the same direction Ephyra went.
Harry waited for Ephyra’s return. Minutes clicked by and she showed up with a sad look on her face. Harry was leaning up against a wall.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked.
“Yes.” She managed a smile.
“Can we leave now?” He asked.
“Please, can we head home instead of going to a restaurant?” she stuttered.
“Why?” He closed the gap between them.
“I’m… I’m a bit tired.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. “Are you okay?” He placed his hand on her forehead.
“Yes… yes I’m just tired.”
“Then, let’s go and see a doctor.”
“No… no, I’ll be fine with a good night rest or I’ll just call James.”
His expression changed at the mention of James. He stepped back, away from her. “Okay, let’s go home,” he said in a low tone.
The drive home was silent, each lost in thought. Harry wondered why Ephyra had changed her mind about going out with him, he had no idea why she was quiet and the look on her face gave him concern. Ephyra went straight into the kitchen to prepare dinner. He wanted to know what was bothering her, so he followed her.
“What do you want to cook?” he asked.
“Noodles,” she said. Ephyra brought out packs of noodles. He watched her as she kept bringing out Noddles.
“Don’t you think that’s too much?” he asked.
She didn’t realize that she had taken more than the usual pack for dinner. Ephyra was distracted and absentminded.
Ten minutes later they settled for dinner. Harry watched Ephyra as she picked her food, she was distant. He knew that there was something bothering he, but he couldn’t figure out what it was exactly. Ephyra was lost in thought, Shawna words echoed on her mind. She closed her eyes as she tried to stop them but the words kept flooding her head.
Shawna made her way to the toilet. She met Ephyra stepping out of the room. Ephyra’s gaze met hers.
“Now, what are you feeling like?” Shawna said. Ephyra was confused. “Lemme guess, on top of the world?” She chuckled.
“What are you saying?” Ephyra asked.
“Oh, come on stop acting.”
“Are you happy now?” she asked again.
“What do you mean?”
“Mrs Isobel hired you to move in with Harry and work as his maid but you tried to make him fall in love with you,” she said.
“You’re mistaken,” Ephyra countered.
“You seduced him thinking he was going to fall for you, but Harry resisted you. Who do you think you are?” she whispered. Ephyra didn’t respond. “Listen to me. Harry can’t love you because you guys live in two separate worlds. He’s rich and you are poor. He’s a star and you’re just his maid, a nobody. Ladies like you are called gold diggers and opportunists. Harry and I are bound by promise to each other, our promise to love each other forever. So stop being a slut and stay away from him. You don’t deserve someone like him. So Miss Maid look for a man who befits you, probably a driver or a security guard,” Shawna said with a wicked smile, she was happy that she had hurt Ephyra with her harsh words.
Ephyra was stunned. She couldn’t move or think of what to say or do to Shawna. She moved to Ephyra and place a paper in her palm. “This is enough to make you stay away,” Shawna said.
She walked away, her footsteps echoing in Ephyra’s ears. She watched Shawna until she couldn’t see her again.
Her gaze flickered down to the paper in her hand. It was a cheque—$10,000. She leaned on the wall as tears flowed down her cheeks. Ephyra was heartbroken, she lasted two minutes in tears before going back to the toilet to wash her face.
Shawna was right. She and Harry lived in separate worlds. She was a fool to think Harry loved her, and that she was starting to feel something for him too. Ephyra wondered why she didn’t think Harry could be in love with another woman secretly even though his mom had said he did’t believe in love. It was shocking to find out that Harry was bound to Shawna by love. They were both in love.
A touch on her skin stunned her out of thought. She met Harry’s gaze, his hand on hers. He sat in front of her looking into her eyes. Then she realized he had finished his food while she was deep in thought, she swallowed hard.
Harry cleared his throat. “Uhmm… I apologize on Shawna behalf for calling you a maid,” he said.
The mention of Shawna made her clench her fist. She avoided his gaze in the process.
“She… she was right,” she muttered.
“No,” he said.
“I’m your maid, and I think it’s best to stop treating me like I am more than a maid to you. Look I am your employee, and I have no expectation of anything from you.” She bit her lower lip to hold back the sob in her throat. “Believe me, I am not a gold digger or an opportunist, and I am not trying to seduce you, so you can love me.” She tried to defend herself from every word Shawna said to her.
Harry was out of chair before she knew it. “Relax,” he whispered. “Now, tell me what’s bothering you.”
She nodded slowly. She didn’t want to tell Harry anything even if it pained her to find out he was in love with Shawna. But why did he ask her to stay with him when he had another woman in his mind?
He settled in the chair close to hers. He held her hands and squeezed it gently. “You… ”
She withdrew and stood up, deciding that she would call Isobel tonight and inform her that it was over. She was ready to cancel the contract. She would stay away from Harry to avoid trouble with Shawna. Ephyra knew she’d tried her best to help Isobel, since Harry now recognized Isobel as his mom.
She would give her resignation to the department not Harry, and then leave without a goodbye. Then everything would be over. She would be fine, Ephyra concluded.
“Good night,” she said.
She would have left if he hadn’t touched her wrist. She didn’t look down at him.
“I used to think love never existed until I met you. Ephyra, I know this might sound crazy but I think—” He stopped and stood in front of her. “I’m in love with you,” he confessed.
A tear slid down her cheek as she glanced up at him.Ephyra was surprised. “I don’t need three months or anytime to figure my feelings, I know it and I’m sure of it.”
“What… what about Shawna?” She closed her eyes hoping to hear the worst.
“She’s just a friend. I don’t have anything with her aside the fact that we studied together in the same college, and she is aware that I don’t believe in love,” he explained.
Ephyra felt like a fool, she was embarrassed by the decision she had made in her heart. The decision to stay away from him, he cupped her face in his hands.
“Listen to me, you made me believe in love. I don’t know how, but I guess it was because you were determined to stay around despite everything I did to you. You saw me at my worst, but you didn’t give up,” he whispered
“Did you make any promise to Shawna?”
“No, Ephyra none of that happened. And as a matter of fact I made it clear to Shawna that we can’t be together, today I admitted to her that I’m in love with you.”
What! Her jaw dropped slightly. Ephyra thought deeply and it struck her.
Shawna said those words to her because Harry was in love with her, and he couldn’t love Shawna in return the way she had expected. Ephyra pulled away from him. She recalled that she was here to reunite Isobel with her son, and not to fall in love with him.
“You shouldn’t do this,” she said
He placed a finger on her lip. “I’m not going to give up on you too,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are here for a purpose of connecting me to my mom or that you are working for at my office. I want to be with you, and that’s why I asked you to stay with me.” He hugged her. Then she began to sob in his chest, and she held him tightly. “Shush.”
“I feel the same too… but it isn’t right.”
She drew back when she calm. She brought out the cheque from her jean pocket.
“What is this?” He collected it. Harry recognized the writing on the cheque. “Shawna gave this to you?”
“I guess it was after she had the discussion with you.”
“Why?” He was confused.
“So I could stay away from you.”
“What!” he gasped in shock.
“And you accepted it? Ephyra were you willing to leave me just like that?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, but she gave me a good reason to stay away.”
Then she realized how foolish the reason was to her. It was her turn to hug him, so she did. Ephyra hugged him tightly.
“What reason?” he asked.
Then she explained everything to him.
Harry exhaled roughly when she ended. He reached out to wipe her wet cheeks.
“We’re just friends. I swear to you I’ve never promised her or any woman ‘Love’. We were apart for two years until she showed up here again claiming that she moved to USA because of me.”
“She loves you,” she whispered
“Yes, and Eleanor too,” he said.
“Yes, but I already made it clear that I don’t love them.” She was silent. “Are you doubting me?” he asked.
“No…no…I believe you,” she said.
“So, are you good now?” he asked.
She nodded. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
- I am Authoress Ademide
I write to edify
I let no words go down the drain
I write to give the highest aspiration and inspiration to my readers.