It was around eleven when he showed up. He had, as was usual for him, picked upon the most perfect time. A short while earlier, Gerhard, the last of the advisors, had left the offices; I was on my own, working behind my desk, with only Fury on the other side across the glass panel.
‘Morning gorgeous’, he saluted, as he stood at the doorway, hands in pockets, seemingly yearning for whatever would make up for his one-day away, perhaps a smile, or a tender word, or, hopefully, an affectionate gesture. But the lioness in me was in a completely different valley now, immersed in her preparations for a court hearing, and, on the face of it, not the least interested in any form of love or salutation.
‘I missed you’, he murmured softly as he drew closer.
I just ignored him, head down, busy working, or feigning business rather.
“Hey kiddo, what’s up?’ he uttered in a mirthful tone as he approached my desk.
‘Mad at me for not coming yesterday?’
‘Something wrong I have done?’ he said with a hint of laugh as he drew even closer in what seemed to be an infringement of the two-meter rule.
Having not received any reply, he stood silent for a few moments, perhaps trying to figure out what had occasioned such an unwontedly cool reception.
‘What is it, Liana?’ He asked now in an ostensibly nettled tone, his patience seemingly running thin. ‘I saw what you did this morning. What’s wrong kiddo?’
I looked up at him. He had this wonderfully untouched, innocent look pervading his face. ‘Didn’t she tell you?’ I asked, suppressing my insubordinate rage.
‘Who? And tell me what?’ He asked, eyes squinting.
‘Your “home secretary”. Didn’t she tell you I called yesterday?’ I asked in a sarcastic tone as I got up, planning one of my infuriating flights that he was quite familiar with. ‘I called three times and left you messages to call me back, and every time I called, a very soft feminine voice replied’.
Despite my awareness of the truth behind the feminine presence, I was losing my composure to some overpowering emotion that, notwithstanding its staggering callowness, seemed deliberately bent on its purpose. Explaining the situation in a nutshell, I had turned into a rebellious female who was only too eager to shake off her garb of shy maidenhood.
Sensing the betrayal of my tears, I dashed out of the room. ‘Hey, jealousy is a bad thing’, he cried out laughing.
‘I’m NOT jealous’, I exclaimed in denial, and made tempestuously for Fury’s office, fighting an urge to scream, to cry, to raise the roof and to hit him. Yes, hit him strongly with my fists, on the chest, on the shoulders…
As I talked to Fury, he stood somehow to my right, a few meters away on the other side of the glass panel, looking at me and ostensibly waiting for my return. I boiled with anger, but I was also aware how enraptured he was with my emotional outburst. Before long he gestured to me to return. I disregarded him. ‘He must be punished’, I thought vindicating my ‘mutiny’. ‘A woman at your house? Answering your phone? What would you need me for? Or is it Liana at work, and another one at home, and God only knows with whom you were lunching yesterday?’ He beckoned again. Fury urged me to talk to him. He was making himself a cup of coffee when I got back.
‘What do you want?’ I asked in a disgruntled tone as I stood on my side of the glass panel.
‘Come over here’, he commanded gently, head down, busy with the making of his coffee.
I brushed past him into the storeroom and stood leaning against the copier, silent with arms crossed. He followed and stood at the doorway meeting me head on with the most wonderful smile. ‘The very soft feminine voice that you heard, and which drove you nuts, was Jocelyn’s; she is the lady who keeps house for me’, he explained calmly. ‘She comes twice a week. Your phone call, I didn’t return simply because by the time I got home from Customs, after fixing the problem I was having with the temporary licensing of my car, you had already gone for the day’.
The relief of having my feminine possessiveness thus gratified was enough to kill all trace of my so-called rage. But exhibiting my mollification seemed a bit premature. Maintaining my silence, I shifted my hands now against the copier to support my back as I was still engaged in searching his face, seeking to substantiate the authenticity of his declaration, which predictably seemed to correspond perfectly with that of ‘detective’ Fury.
‘Jocelyn keeps the house not only for me but for some other advisors too. This, you can check out yourself’, he said with a lovable air of confidence. ‘Feeling better now?’ He asked in a tone of marvellous tenderness as he stood for a brief moment staring affectionately at me. ‘You’re jealous, Liana’, he said, as he started moving slowly towards me now. ‘You’re hell jealous… But don’t hide it kiddo… don’t hide it… because I love it… and I adore you’. As he maintained his slow pace towards me, I could sense his eyes burning with passion. ‘What have you done to me, Liana? What have you done to me, for God’s sake?’ he asked in an agony of feeling.
While he moved towards me, I apprehensively shifted direction. Alert and vigilant, I edged slowly and cautiously backward and to the left, my hands gesticulating for him to refrain from any act of insanity that he may have been contemplating. Relieved as I was now for the amicable conclusion to the ‘Jocelyn’ issue, I realised that I had wound up with another problem. Yes, a real ‘serious’ one that I had brought upon myself.
To Be Continued.......