‘Lanre Martins’ was etched in black on the white name plate that was glued to the door. She undid the first two buttons of her zebra print blouse and ran her hands over her huggy suit skirt that stopped a few inches before her knee, before tapping the door twice. After a few seconds she opened the door.
Lanre sat behind his desk striking away on his system. He didn’t lift his eyes from the screen but he knew Vanessa had entered, her perfume always ran before her to proclaim her presence.
“Good morning Lanre.”
“Morning. You may have your sit.” He said still tapping on his keyboard.
Lanre brought down the lid of his system, exhaled and looked up. She had a fringe of Peruvian hair attached to her lashes, it flapped each time she blinked, she applied a little too much rogue and it accentuated her cheek bones, her lips were painted ox blood in matte, her hair was cut short and dyed auburn, framing her head like a halo and there was a rash of pimples across her forehead. He thought she looked good.
“So what is it?” Lanre asked plainly.
“I’ve got juicy gist.” She replied and he arched his full brows in surprise.
“But you know I don’t do gossips.”
“Neither do I.” She drawled. “The gist is actually juicy because it concerns you.”
“Oh, Really? Okay, let’s hear it then.”
“Alright. Let’s start this way; Where was Lara about 8 PM yesterday?” She asked and a frown creased on Lanre’s face.
“And how is that your business?” He asked skeptically.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.” Vanessa apologized, raising her hands in surrender. She stood up and moved gingerly to the door.
Lanre was somewhat surprised and curious.
Why would the desperate Vanessa give up without fighting?
What information could she have about Lara?
“Eerm… By that time yesterday she was supposed to be at her place.” Lanre said hesitantly. He was quite sure of it, he had called around that time to tell her he was home and she didn’t mention going anywhere.
Vanessa smiled as she released the door knob. She turned around to face Lanre and she clasped her hands.
“Well, it might interest you to know that Lara wasn’t at home by that time yesterday.” She paused to study Lanre’s face. Although Lanre tried to suppress his shock she saw the flash of it and smirked. “She was at the movies.”
“Er- maybe she went to unwind after a stressful day.” Lanre said dully.
“Unwind” Vanessa repeated and she giggled.
She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. Lanre’s alert eyes searched her face.
“She must have been unwinding with that hunk” She reclined slowly. Lanre’s heart dropped.
“Look, Vanessa I don’t believe what you’re saying. You may leave now.” Lanre managed to say in a manner that didn’t sound convincing to even him.
“Well, I must confess you don’t sound like one who doesn’t believe. Anyways,” -she walked around the table then dropped her phone before him- “this should clear your doubts.”
Lanre found himself blinking foolishly like his fiancee. The very same blue gown! The picture before him literally jeered audibly at him. Lara was walking with a guy who he immediately concluded was Noah, in the Ventura premise. They looked cozy together, this made the pit of stomach go hot.
He was totally nonplussed and he starred fixedly at the photo.
Vanessa moved her hands slowly over Lanre’s chair, her hips propped up against the desk and she cleared her throat.
“You’re not talking.” She scoffed. “You are shocked. You never hesperedit.” she guffawed.
“I’ve always told you, no wise man puts all his eggs in a basket, but Lanre the good boy wouldn’t listen.” She ran her acrylic pink fingernails over Lanre’s face amorously.
“Now that your Lara is doing it. I’m sure you won’t mind.”
She walked across the office to the door, she locked it. She wasn’t going to let anything ruin her chance.
When Lanre heard the turning sound of the key, it was like humanity snapped its fingers before his face, abruptly jolting him out of his mild state of unconsciousness.
What’s Vanessa doing?
The question on his mind was answered the moment she turned to him, the aphrodisa in her eyes, the come-hither look she gave him and those fluid, seductive sways in which she approached him made know exactly what she was up to.
The Vanessa that wants me to harness her. His quip came back, but this time as a boomerang.
He rose in a fit so that the swivel chair scraped back. She was now close, reaching for his suit, cupping his face. As she made to kiss him, he shoved her away and the bunch of keys in her hands clattered to the tiled, pristine floor. Lanre quickly grabbed the keys, slotted the right one in the keyhole and turned it twice in the anticlockwise direction. He flung the door open
“Vanessa leave my office now!” He yelled in a shaky but firm voice. She was surprised.
Lanre shut the door behind her and he leaned against it with his hands on his chest. He could feel the loud thuds of his heart and he was visibly shaking.
“Father. That was a close shave, a really close shave.” He mumbled as he took a deep calming breath.
“But I thank you oh God, I thank you Lord. You said that to every temptation you’d create a room for escape, Lord I thank you for showing the narrow window of escape. Your word in Psalm 124 verse 7 says ‘My soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and I have escaped.’ Father my soul escaped. Thank you for letting my soul escape.” He prayed on as he strolled back to his seat.
There had been a burden on Lara’s heart, there had been cobwebs in her head. She was bothered about something she really couldn’t place her finger on. She just knew she had lost her peace.
She sat in the parlour before the LCD TV screen showing ‘Chinese zodiac’ a somewhat antique Jackie Chan movie. She was blasé, she had watched the movie before, she was just dawdling.
Lara watched the protagonist, Jackie Chan steal those expensive art works from the museum and strangely her heart throbbed.
She straightened up in the chair and wondered why that particular scene jarred at her heart.
She tried to search her spirit, could it be that Lord was trying to pass across a message to her heart?
Many at times the holy spirit would speak to her via seemingly unorthodox means. It could be an animal, a building, a market scenario or anything at all.
Lara was still ruminating when her phone beeped. She glanced briefly at it. The message from Noah read thus;
‘We’ve got to see.’
Lara wondered why the tone of the text was that taut, it was unlike Noah. Did she do something to offend him? Is he alright?
Her thoughts drifted from one possibility to the other.
Lara yanked the door open without even bothering to knock. She moved as fast as her ire chased her. She tossed her bag into one of the chairs.
“How. Dare. You?” She said through clenched teeth, halting before Lanre.
He lowered his eyes. He knew exactly why she was ruffled, he had seen it coming.