ALL THE RIGHT THINGS by Ikeoluwa Adegboye.

When I was guessing what kind of writing my friends would send in for the guest blogging series, I automatically assumed Ike would do a lifestyle sort of article because well, she’s fantastic at it. Check her blog, you’ll see what I mean. So when she sent me a short story I was like wawu!!! A beautiful, well written fiction. I was like, Jehovah- how you gotta be dashing people this much talent and sub talent. lol. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.

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He sat down in the chair across from her, the desk, sturdy and tidy barricading him. She smiled at him calmly, but she had grown impatient with his games, he could tell. Months of stalling on an issue she had tagged as priority, wasn’t something you did if you wanted to keep your job. She was three levels up in the organization; intelligent, powerful and riveting.

She looked at him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable. Her thick lashes exaggerated the size of her eyes, making the white part of it even whiter, eerily whiter. He tried to keep his body still, but he wasn’t successful. His feet shuffled rebelliously beneath the table, unable to keep still.

He had seen her this morning on her way into the office, when she walked by his desk wearing a gray pant suit, that clung to her body like a wet suit, swaying her hips slowly and leaving a trail of her perfume behind.
His head swam as he got enveloped in her fragrance again, right here, in her office. Her jacket, now off, lay carelessly on the sofa. She wore a pink camisole that bared more of her smooth, dark skin; a delicate lace trim tapered the neckline, threatening to reveal breast with her every move. He willed himself to look at her face, but only for a short while. His eyes fell beyond voluntary control to the skin just above the lace on her camisole.

The air was tight but she seemed comfortable in it on her side of the table, watching him try to control his body’s response; his eyes from looking at her chest, his body from shifting in discomfort, his — well, she didn’t want to be presumptuous.

She looked at him intently and asked him what his answer was. Her large eyes focused on his lips. His palms began to sweat, his heart drummed against his chest, other parts of him throbbed too. He sat up uncomfortably, trying to will his body to attention.
What would his answer be?
She looked at him, her smile transitioning from teasing to knowing. She knew he would need a miracle to get out of this today.
She asked him again if his answer was what she thought it was. She teased and told him if it was otherwise, she would imagine he would have some difficulty talking his way out of this one.

He remained quiet. Was it considered ‘chicken’ to report a sexual harassment case as a man? His friends already told him what a fool he was. They laughed at him saying, “When the boss asks you to sign here, you sign and you sign again and again and again until the ink runs out.”

She got up and his gaze followed her. She walked slowly around the table and leaned forward, he moistened his lips nervously.

She told him to think deeply about his answer, even though she had given him a month to already. His right forefinger and thumb closed around the metal on his ring finger.

Vera…

She could read his thoughts. She told him his wife would never find out. It would be just this one time, she pushed her camisole strap down her shoulder and reached for his face. He could feel all he stood for disintegrate very slowly. God came to mind but was God here? He thought about Vera again. Like a TV interference, his image of Vera fluttered as she ran her fingers over his lips.
Vera, her sweet face and throaty laugh.
His boss got up, slowly walked to the door and turned the key in the lock. He felt caged, like a sheep up for shearing. He couldn’t file a complaint when the deed was done, right? She could argue that it was consensual?

She was sure now. She had him where she wanted him. In her office, vulnerable and responsive; no more hall chasing, corridor dodging, cubicle hiding.
She stood behind him and placed her hands on his tense shoulders. He fingered his wedding ring still, his eyes fixed on an invisible screen on the head of her swivel chair across the table.
She whispered something in his ear, her breathing soft but uneven.

His will had crumbled, his beliefs, deflated. His future, in the balance.
He started to speak but felt his words hang in his dry throat. He tried again.
He asked her why. Why him? Why not Fred from Marketing? Or Ola from HR?
She sighed and continued kneading his shoulders. In his earlier days, she wouldn’t even have to ask but things were much different now. He had Vera. She had made him a better man; a respectable man.

He shuddered slightly as she rubbed his ears. She whispered in them that she chose him because he had a quality she was unable to explain. It was beyond her. She watched him all day and thought about him all night. All she really wanted was this one time. Once, just once.

Every man has a choice, she drawled. She advised him to make the right one. She wasn’t wearing any underwear too, if that helped him make his decision. He knew he wouldn’t last long here. He felt his old self resurface, he had sat here for too long. Her hands were inside his shirt, stroking his chest slowly. She felt the thumping of his heart and she giggled. “Easy, you should pace yourself,” She teased. No one would know.
His heart quickened. She giggled again.

He thought about Vera’s eyes and the way it’s sparkled when she began to read a new book, the way she closed her eyes with every bite of dessert. He remembered the first time he saw her cry. The first day he saw her hurt. He had promised himself never to be the reason she cried. His hands dropped to his thighs.

His body weighed into the chair as she slowly walked forward and stood in front of him.
His gaze had shifted to the window. As she turned his face to look at her, he realized the other strap had fallen off her shoulder.
One thing was clear, there was no dignified way out of this.
It was a 6-story building. They were two stories up. His gaze moved slowly again to the window. He had found his way out.

____

Ike is a Blogger and Writer with a background in Health and Management. She
is a newly converted morning person, who dislikes coffee, loves new cultures and their corresponding street-food. She blogs on www.pagesbyike.com

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Banky says:

    Give me anything Ike writes and I’ll eat it… More please! It’s really true that society usually focuses on women as the victims of sexual harassment and are oblivious to the fact that men face the same issue. Some women verbally and physically abuse their husbands too so let’s stop all this rubbish ‘Yoruba demon’ label cos that’s a single story.

  2. Bimpe says:

    I thought this piece was intriguing; I couldn’t stop… Ike is an amazing fiction writer… Fantastic read! And I agree with Banky… Sexual and verbal harassment and the danger of a single story.. Hmmmn!!!

  3. KacheeTee says:

    Great read. Well done Ike. Blogger BFF!!

    But did he die? Or he survived?

  4. Damilola Demehin says:

    I actually had the effrontery to cross my arms whilst staring intently at my screen.

    Considering where my seat is, I’m just asking for a query in Swahili.

    But this was indeed a beautiful read…

    I sha hope in his bid to leave, he didn’t jump out of the window sha. Na suicide be that o.

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