David, Julie and Diane share different spaces in one another’s lives, yet their worlds collide on an axis none of them saw coming.
David probably sealed a major deal yesterday, I thought to myself, for that was what usually put him in such a good mood: money and success. Once he was eating, I decided to try to milk the moment for all it was worth.
“Do you think you might be able to drop off the kids today?” I asked hopefully, my fingers crossed beneath the table.
“Sure, no problem,” he agreed easily.
“Thank you,” I said gratefully, a tinge of relief in my voice, and was rewarded with a soft smile from him.
It was different from the one he had come downstairs with; this one was kinder, more intimate.
“You’re welcome. I should be home early as well; probably around seven, definitely before dinner,” he promised.
I smiled as I let out a silent sigh of relief; it looked like things were going to be alright after all.
The good vibes also spread over to work, where nothing seemed capable of fazing or stressing me. When a meeting with a client did not go quite how I had hoped it would, instead of getting stressed out like I normally would, I shrugged it off, and began working on a new proposal, and when one of my juniors messed up an assignment, I did not bite his head off.
The only downside to my chirpy mood was that my mind kept wandering back to Julie every chance it got. There was no doubt I wanted to see her again, but I knew it was too soon, and I did not want her to feel hounded.
Texting her would have been a better option, but I had foolishly failed to ask for her number, which meant that calling her would require going through the general office line - another thing I didn’t want to do.
And yet I could not stop thinking about her and yearning to make contact in some way. Then suddenly an idea popped into my head, as it approached four in the afternoon – during our dinner the previous night, I had gathered that Julie bore most of her family’s financial needs.
At the time I had found it impressive, especially as while it was clear that she struggled under the burden, she did not complain or whine about it, nor did she ask for my help. These days you meet a girl one day, and the next she is asking you to pay for a whole host of ‘family problems’.
Julie was not like that; she carried her responsibilities with grace and dignity, no matter how hard they were, and it was this that made me want to help her. I would send her some money with a note that simply said ‘For the kids’ as she had referred to her siblings.
Since I did not have her number, I would send an office messenger with the envelope addressed to her, and once she opened it and saw the contents, she would have to call me, either to thank me, or to protest, and knowing her, it would probably be the latter.
I had just over two hundred thousand shillings in my wallet, and taking out the four fifty-thousand notes, I slipped them into an envelope, and then called for the messenger.
As the afternoon began to wind down with no word from David, I mentally berated myself over how much I had been expecting to hear from him, and how disappointed I was that I had not.
What was wrong with me? Did I think that just because he had taken me for a fancy dinner and then driven me home, we were now in a relationship?
For goodness sake, he was a high-powered marketing manager, while I was a mere secretary, and I had actually expected him to come running after me like some lovestruck teenager!
I needed to get my head out of the clouds, and come back to reality, I chided myself, just as the door opened, and a young man strode purposefully over to my desk.
“I’ve got a delivery for Miss Julie from Mr David Mukasa,” he announced, while handing over an envelope.
My heart skipped a beat and for a few seconds, I was dumbstruck as I accepted the envelope with a slightly quivering hand, which I prayed the messenger did not notice.
If he did, he did not show it.
“Please sign here,” he requested politely and handed me a clipboard with a delivery form, which I dutifully signed, and only found my voice and remembered to thank him when he was already halfway out the door.