It was 12 noon. Pastor Allen was having lunch with Pastor Odion (popularly called POD), Pastor Kunle (alias PK) and Ovie. The venue was his office and the occasion was the birthday of the lady who handled their catering. She had gone beyond the usual menu for lunch to give them a sumptuous buffet as a way of thanking them for their patronage over the years. Ama had served herself but preferred to eat in her office. Of all the men in the office, only PA had forgotten that Toyosi was billed for an appointment at 2pm. She wanted to be at a vantage point when she walked in.
Sure enough, at 2pm, the receptionist rang to ask if she could let a guest in. When she confirmed it was Toyosi, Ama gave her permission to do so. Hiding her plate of amala and ewedu soup under the table, she wiped her mouth with a paper towel and popped a breath mint into her mouth. She did not bother to alert PA; she wanted to see his mouth wide open in surprise.
At the sound of a knock on her door, she called out, “Come in.”
Toyosi walked in; her sensuous perfume preceding her. She looked heavenly in a white pant suit with minimal jewelry. Ama gazed with envy at her red pumps and white channel purse, her long weave, her French manicure.
“This babe is high maintenance.”
“Good afternoon, Ma. I believe PA is expecting me,” she said.
Ama could not answer immediately because her british accent and sing-song voice had mesmerized her. She was already dreaming of Toyosi on the altar beside PA, microphone in hand, shouting “Halleluyah!” Only that she probably wouldn’t need to shout because…Well, just cause.
“Hello?” Toyosi waved a hand before her face.
Ama shook herself out of her fantasy. “I will show you in. He’s been expecting you.”
She rose and led the way. Without warning, she flung open the doors to PA’s office and inclined her head for Toyosi to enter.
“Pastor, your 2 O’clock appointment is here.”
The men froze as Toyosi walked in like her six-inch heels were flats, smiling in a way that said, “I get that a lot.”
PA blinked, gulped, blinked again, before he remembered he had a drumstick halfway to his mouth. POD and PK were quietly putting their balls of eba back in their plates, a sheepish smile on both their faces. Ovie quickly swallowed his mouthful of water and rose to welcome her.
“Sister T, you are welcome. Kindly join us. It’s the birthday of our caterer so she set a table before us, as the psalmist says.”
“Hopefully, not in the presence of your enemies?” She winked.
“No,” he laughed. “I doubt they could survive the unction in this room.”
He led her round to make introductions. Ama had tactically withdrawn, leaving the door slightly open for obvious reasons.
“Pastor Odion and Pastor Kunle.” Ovie led her to each man.
They could only wave, since their hands were occupied, and smile their welcome. She greeted each man graciously before turning the full force of her charm on PA.
He cleared his throat, desperate to come up with words but found none. He could not even hold her gaze.
“May I sit here?” She indicated the portion of the sofa next to him and sat down, pretending not to notice how his eyes widened.
“What do I get for you? There is efo riro, ewedu…” Ovie was asking.
“Thanks but, no thanks. I don’t really do Nigerian food. Give me pizza anyday.” She replied without taking her eyes off PA who was trying to finish his food in a dignified manner.
The other pastors had made quick work of theirs. It was obvious from the tension in the room that little or no editing was going down. While they respected their boss and friend, they didn’t see him going after a girl all by himself. If such a “hot” babe was interested in him, they would not be a cog in the wheel of his progress. They were already washing their hands as a prelude to their exit.
PA noticed them and gave them a pleading look. They did not acknowledge it if they saw it. Ovie was chatting away, oblivious of what was going on.
“So, how long have you been in Nigeria?” Ovie was asking.
“I came in last year but that wasn’t my first time. My family and I visited many times over the years.” She crossed her long legs.
POD rose and shook hands with her. “It was nice meeting you. I hope we will see more of you?”
She fixed her gaze on PA as she spoke. “That depends on Pastor. He hasn’t said a word to me. I am beginning to feel unwelcome.”
“No, no, no. Do not mind PA. You know we pastors need to be reminded of the world around us and not to ‘be in the spirit’ all the time. My wife has changed me. That is how I was,” PK said, laughing.
“O, well.” Toyosi shrugged delicately.
“I will be in my office PA. Sister Toyosi, take care of yourself,” POD said, clasping PK’s shoulder as they left.
“Thank you, Pastor,” she replied.
From the door, POD called, “Ovie, come and help me set up the software I told you about.”
Ovie rose, wondering what he meant.
“Excuse me, Sister T. I will be right back,” he said.
“No, you won’t,” she thought, grateful for the intervention of POD.
However, she didn’t voice her thoughts but merely smiled and waved. When he was gone and the door shut, she turned to PA.
“I’ll give you a minute to finish your food while I go over my notes on your draft.” She picked up her bag and took out her phone. “Let me turn this off so you’ll have my full attention.”
PA rose to drop his plate but she reached out for it.
“Lemme get that.”
He tried not to watch her sashay to the table but that was asking for too much. As she returned, he dropped his gaze. She took her seat and and took out her tablet device.
“I like the subject, first of all.”
“Thank you,” he said.
She smiled. “It is something I believe every man wants to learn about. There have been many books written on it but your angle is very interesting.”
“Why, thank you.” He smiled.
“I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen you smile, PA. You have a lovely smile, if I may say so.”
He grinned but did not reply. She let it go.
“Why did you not use your own story in the book?”
“Well, I just think I have over-used it. Many people have heard it and this is not my first rodeo.”
“You have to assume that the readers of this book have never read any of your other books. It may be wise to share an abridged version but chastity in a man of your age with access to a bevy of ladies, in a world where everything goes, is a rarity.”
“Thank you for your kind words.” He was suddenly hot under the collar. He wondered if the air conditioning was working. “Should I turn up the AC?”
“It’s fine, really. I have gotten used to the heat in Lagos.”
“It’s unbearably hot on some days, isn’t it?”
“You can’t imagine. If I did not own a pool, I would be so hot. I practically live in the water.”
He found the remote and increased the chill in the room.
“Is that better?” he asked kindly.
“Yes, thank you. You are such a great host. I am surprised you are not married.”
He changed the topic immediately. “Let me ask Ama to bring in her laptop. That way, we can go over the draft and you can make your recommendations.”
Toyosi watched him rise to summon his secretary, wishing she could stop him. She had to be content with the little time they had spent alone, however. It would be hard for him to get her out of his mind and she knew just how much pressure was enough to lead the horse to the water and make him think he was thirsty all the while.
To Be Continued.
Be kind enough to click on the title and share your thoughts. Cheers, Dr. N