Halima’s face eased into an ironic half smile that didn’t flatter her.
“I have a feeling Alexander doesnt know Adanna will be coming this afternoon. Otherwise he would not have assigned me to take you around today” Halimah Nasiru was starting to do my body somehow, rubbing me the wrong way. I could handle the fact that she thought herself my ‘chaperone’ like I was a child she’d been given the burden of babysitting for the day.
I could look past her deliberate omission of this potentially volatile information; that Adanna Ezeugo and I would meet, that she would be pissed off at Alexander and therefore by proxy me, and that Alexander was completely unaware of the confrontation that was about to take place. Alexander would have known that I would run into her eventually, though, and I felt mildly pissed off at him for this.
That he hadn’t thought to prepare me. I guess I could give Halimah some credit here, she was looking out for the interests of her friend who would want to meet Alexander’s new fiancee. And she was giving me fair warning that I might have a jealous psycho on my hands. Welcome to Regal.
“I mean I would have filled him in on the schedules” She said quickly
“But I know he has a not on his plate right now, what with JayJay’s issues” She sure did know a lot about Alexander and his problems. More than I did, in fact. Her smile mellowed to one that could have been mistaken for genuine.
“I’m sure we can handle it though, don’t you think? I mean, you’ve got the ring – and wow, is all I can say – so there’s nothing to worry about. Adanna will have to get over it, I have already told her to move on, plenty more fuckboys in the valley, right?”
did she just call her boss and my fiance a fuckboy?! I contemplated her, almost wishing that I’d opted for some mentoring in the Political Affairs instead. The fashion department was equally rife with drama it seemed, and I was getting the feeling that any realm that involved the influences and echoes of Alexander Gold was going to be highly dramatic.
Even so, I missed him so much that the heated beat of my heart ached with it. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him about … why. Why hadn’t he told me about her, and how could he just ditch her like that, over the phone, so coldly? It also occurred to me that during that interview, and for the few days after, he would have been cheating on her, with me.
Had he been so overcome with passion that nothing else had occurred to him – not his relationship or his fidelity or his honesty – nothing but getting as down and dirty as possible, with me, immediately, with no consideration of consequences of any kind whatsoever?
I knew the answer to that question: yes. Just as nothing else had occurred to me. I needed to talk to him.
But Halimah was right, Alexander was busy, he had serious business to attend to and he needed to focus. The last thing he needed right now was a catfight.
Before I could even respond to Halima’s rhetorical question, someone walked in and it was as though the room become suddenly brighter and as if the Host of Angels walked in with the person, I recognized her immediately from a thousand photographs but she was so glorious in person. I gulped a bit noisily and it had Halimah give me the side eye followed by a small grin.
“Oh, look,” She said grinning “She’s early.”
Adanna Ezeugo stood there looking like she’d just stepped off the cover of some fabulous magazine, which she probably had. Her long golden braids were perfectly done and the colour just blended with the colour of her shiny golden skin. Her slim yet curvy frame and snatched waist was showcased in what looked like a couture pantsuit in a way only a supermodel could pull off.
Her scent filling the entire room and possibly the entire building pleasantly, and her eyes, black as coal rimmed with kohl and spidery lashes that swept her cheeks delicately when she blinked, fixed themselves onto me with demonic intensity.
“Is this her?” she asked, as though I was brainless, a rival mannequin. Halimah looked very much like she was enjoying the moment.
“Rebecca meet Adanna Ezeugo. Adanna, Rebecca Nwachukwu”
“I wish I could say it was a pleasure” Adanna said coolly, even her voice sounded melodious. Her eyes darted to the ring on my finger which caused her face to darken just a little bit. I wouldn’t have thought it possible but her eyes darkened even more than the midnight black they’d already been.
What else could I do? It’s one of my weaknesses, I can’t help sympathizing with people, no matter how bitchy or possibly rightfully angry they might be. This woman was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, like ever! What could she possibly have done wrong?
“It’s nice to meet Adanna. Halimah was just telling me about your amazing career.” I almost said I’m so jealous, but then, that might have come across as catty, or even cruel. She eyed me, taken aback by my friendliness. I could see her confusion flickering. Is she serious, dumb or just being a total bitch? She couldn’t quite tell. So, I kept talking,
“Halimah’s been kind enough to show me the ropes today since I’m new here at Regal, your column sounds interesting” I genuinely didn’t feel any resentment towards her. I’d never expected Alexander not to have a past, he was obviously a very experienced lover. I guess I hadn’t expected his past to be so… recent and so suddenly present.
Thankfully, I couldn’t quite summon the first flash of jealousy I felt when Halimah cheerfully informed me of Adanna’s imminent arrival. It was true after all, what Halimah had said: you’ve got the ring. And I had no doubt about Alexander’s unwavering commitment to me. Still, I couldn’t help wondering what he would do – and say – now, if he’d happened to walk in.
“How old are you?” she blurted out, studying my face from her small, cold distance. I almost lied, but my age shouldn’t feel like a crime I committed or a blight on Alexander’s character – I had nothing to hide from Adanna Ezeugo,
“Almost 24” I replied. To this Adanna laughed. The sound brittle like shattering glass.
“Of course you are”. Not knowing exactly how to respond to this I kuku kept my mouth shut.