For Ten Thousand Dollars: The aftermath of an unintended office romance-Episode 8


New York is such a beautiful city, I thought as I looked around while waiting for my luggage at the baggage reclaim area. Even if I hadn’t had the slightest glimpse of the city, I was compelled to think so with an aura so warm. I watched the baggage carousel bring in luggage every second with my tired eyes anxiously expecting to see my luggage. It was the longest flight I had ever being on- about 11 hours and 15 minutes and to make matters worse, my period started the same day. There I was with my legs pressing tightly against each other. I felt sticky already. I really hoped a stranger wouldn’t walk up to me just to call my attention to a stain on my jeans the second time. That would be such a bad memory to associate with such a beautiful city.

Hi, are you okay?” A good looking man with short curly hair, wearing a nice pair of glasses that exposed his shiny bright eyes asked from behind me “You look like you want to use the restroom. What does your suitcase look like? I can help while you go sort yourself out. It’s not a pretty sight.”

What’s not a pretty sight?” I asked scared that what I feared may have just happened.

Your legs. The way you press them tightly against each other and that funny movement.” He laughed. “My name is Rico Shunt. You can handover your baggage tag. I’ll help you. Trust me.” He smiled.

I thanked him as I handed over my tag pointing to my suitcase as it was approaching and then quickly walked to the restroom. While I got myself cleaned up, I reminisced about what had just happened with Rico. I had just met with a good looking American guy and a very nice one at that.

As I washed my hands, I started to think of Deji and my last encounter with him before I left Lagos. All I imagined were the many reasons why he would want to have a baby with me. He definitely liked me and wanted more but maybe he’s just too proud.

I walked out of the rest room feeling refreshed and a bit more confident. It was now time to get into the city of New York I whispered with a smile as I looked around.

Just as I was approaching the baggage reclaim area, I saw Rico waving with my luggage in a trolley.

“Thanks Rico. You saved the day.”

“I always do. Where are you headed?” He asked with a warm smile.

I wasn’t sure of the name of the hotel and so I asked him to hold on for a few seconds while I checked my email.

“It’s the New York Marriott Downtown Hotel.

Great. Exactly the same place I’m headed.”

Oh yes it definitely is.” I whispered with a smile as we walked through the exit to get a cab.

Rico was a very interesting guy who had an idea of almost everything there was. Just a few hours together, we had talked about almost everything. He was really chatty, I didn’t realise when I told him everything about Deji and I including the bet that never saw the light of day.

“So, why don’t you just get a contraceptive. It’ll help ease the worries and fears of having Deji’s baby.” He teased.

I have never given opting for a contraceptive method a thought honestly.”

“Ain’t you Nnigerians risk takers?” He teased again. “C’mon it’s really not a big deal. I could take you to one of the sexual health clinics to talk to a health professional if you don’t mind.”

“Oh No.” I replied in a rather harsh tone. How did I ever get to discussing sex education with a total stranger my first day in New York. It definitely didn’t sound right. I held my bag firmly for comfort and looked out of the window the remaining part of the journey.

We said our goodbyes at the reception after we got the keys to our respective rooms. I almost thought there was a spark between us before the sex education lecture came up. I watched him smile again as he said, “maybe the universe may just bring us together, some other time. Take care.”He walked away without asking for my contact details or room number at least. The shenanigans with the cute american guy I just met was definitely over I thought as I watched him go into the elevator without looking back.

I got to my room a few minutes later and just as I opened the door, my mouth did same. The view was amazing. I could see the Hudson River from my study table and a part of the city as it lit up. It looked so beautiful as night time was setting in and I was in awe. At that point, I could definitely say Rico was wiped out from my memory for the next minute. I really wanted to share all of the beautiful scenery with someone. I called Ladi but there wasn’t any response. I wasn’t surprised because it was past midnight in Nigeria. I decided to put a call through to Deji. I could bet he was going to act as mean Deji this time but I was prepared. To make the conversation less awkward, I was going to quickly say, “Hi Deji. I just checked into the hotel. I thought I should let you know.” Then if that goes well, I’ll just ask, “Do you mind seeing the view? It’s very beautiful.” Right in the middle of my practice, the call got picked.

“Hi Cleo. You must be having a great time. We are doing good here. She said as she pointed the phone camera on Deji who was fast asleep with the duvet covering just his pelvic area.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. “What are you doing there Ranti? I asked in surprise.

Making a Castle baby.” She laughed.

A baby?” I shouted

You should be happy for me Cleo. I’m 30 years old already. Except you plan on hooking me up with your brother which you clearly don’t have then I think Congratulations from you will be in order.”

What! I can’t believe you.” I voiced out loudly before hanging up and slipping into the sheets to digest all that just happened.

I had just a few hours before the start of the conference. The right thing to do was go to sleep but the zeal to completely forget what had just happened and to make my organisation proud at the same time just wouldn’t let me. I stayed up all night studying for the next day before finally catching about three hours of sleep.