I got back to the office and went in search of Sunmola. I found her in her office poring over some files. She looked up as I knocked and entered.
“Oh hi Leona. How was court? Were you okay?”
I smiled at her. “You are the best ‘semi-boss’ ever! I’m glad you thought of me to represent you today. It was the best ever.”
She returned my smile. “You are welcome. I take it all went well? From your bubbly countenance, I can tell.”
“It went great. Although at first, I was very nervous but I pulled myself together and represented my firm well.” I relayed proudly.
“Good to know. So, tell me what happened.”
I sat down and gave her the full gist. “…So the date for ruling is February 5th. Would you be available then?”
“I should be. Would you like to accompany me if you are free?”
“Sure, sure. I’ll like that.”
“Good. Thanks for helping today. You really saved my hide.”
“It was my pleasure, believe me.” I answered. “I hope nobody has missed me?”
“No, I covered for you. Although Dapo asked to see you when you got back.”
I frowned. Why would Dapo be looking for me? “Really? Why?” I asked her.
Sunmola shrugged. “I think he has something for you to do. Just go see him.”
“Okay.” I stood up, gave her a cursory wave and set off to look for Dapo. All my determination not to get too involved with him flew out the window as I went in search of him excitedly. So much for my resolve.
A few seconds later I got to his door just as he stepped out of his office. We collided and I stumbled, he quickly reached out to steady me. I looked into his eyes and my heart lurched. He looked intently at me and gave me a devastating smile. I was floored and I would have swooned if he were not holding on to my arm.
“Hi.” He whispered, staring at me.
“Hi.” I replied quietly, staring back, my heart thumping double time.
“How was court?” he smiled again. That smile was everything.
“It was fine.” He finally released my arm and I felt the loss of his touch keenly.
He kept staring at me with a look I couldn’t decipher and I wondered what he was looking at so intently.
I was flustered. “You wanted to see me?”
“Oh yes, please come in for a minute.” He opened his office door and gestured to me to precede him. I went in and sat down, thinking maybe he had something for me to do.
Nothing prepared me for what happened next though.
He came and stood directly in front of me. After a few seconds he bent his knees so he could be on the same level with me as I was on my seat. He took my hands and looked nervous. I had never seen him this way and I was befuddled. What was going on here? I mused.
He cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He closed it and tried again. His voice came out raspy. “Leona…” he started, “I know we just met and we are only starting to get to know each other but I just have to say this.”
My heart started thumping so fast I feared it would jump out of my chest. What was he about to say? I thought. Was he about to confess his feelings for me?
He gripped my hands very tightly and I winced. The tension in this room was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Just say what’s on your mind already, I thought.
“I think I’m falling in love with you.” He said quietly
I gasped. “What?” I didn’t know his feelings ran that deep. So it wasn’t just me, I thought.
“I know. You are thinking it’s too soon and we barely know each other. Believe me, I thought all those things too but I can’t help the way I feel.” His thumb caressed my hand and I was momentarily distracted. “Say something, please.”
“I don’t know what to say.” I suddenly had the explanation for his call on Sunday night, he had been trying to tell me this.
He sighed heavily. My hands were still in his. “That’s understandable, I guess. I sprung all these on you and I get it that you are a little dumbstruck. I just have one question.”
“Do you have any feelings for me at all?”
“I do.” I admitted
He gave me a dazzling smile. He must have been expecting a different answer.
“Do you think these feelings could grow into something more meaningful? Say, maybe something that could….” He stopped suddenly.
“That could what?” I had a feeling he was about to say something colossal.
“Never mind.” He shook his head as if to clear those thoughts. His hesitancy just fueled my curiosity “Do you think that you could feel more over time?”
“Yes, I think so.”
He stood up suddenly and hugged me tightly. It was so sudden and I almost fell back but his arms steadied me. I smiled into his chest. Who knew Ogre Dapo was actually a teddy bear? I thought as I remembered Sunmola’s words.
“Thank you.” He whispered fervently.
After that day, our romance escalated. I was caught up in a whirlwind of feelings so intense and exciting, I could hardly contain myself. I was happy to be called Dapo’s girl and was ecstatic he had chosen me. His kisses intoxicated me and his slightest touch drove me crazy. I was literally hot whenever I was near him but we both decided we wouldn’t act on our wants. It was a bit frustrating but I guess it made the anticipation sharper.
Six months later, Dapo proposed to me and I accepted. He gave me a beautiful engagement ring and it was everything I had ever wished for. I was in cloud nine until the day everything came crashing down.