Written by Mauryn Okunga
I’m in John’s office, frozen to my chair. From the look in his eyes, he is enjoying taunting me, watching me shake with fear and uncertainty about how far he can go with his threat. I don’t wonder for long.
“I know your past Maureen, no need to play innocent with me. I thought I had seen you somewhere before and when I asked a few people from your previous circle of friends, they confirmed my suspicion,” he raps, a smirk on his face.
He walks over to my seat, stands behind me and continues speaking, his breath cold on my neck. “I should have done this long ago. Lord knows I have been dying to, but my wife was pregnant and needed me around. But now that she is breastfeeding, I need your cooperation. After all, you are not new to this thing.”
I look at the photo frame bearing pictures of his two little boys. I feel sorry for them.
“Come on Maureen, you know I can recommend a bigger salary than what you’re getting. I am also aware of how class attendance has improved since you joined this team. But I could as well take the credit or place it on another team member’s card and have your new promotion cancelled.”
He grabs my shoulders and strokes them. I grab both hands, and push them off.
“Uh! She’s a tigress too!” he muses, standing before me before bending so that his face is just an inch away from mine. The urge to spit in his face is strong. But I hold back.
“I have seen one student frequent your office and rumour has it that he has the hoots for you.”
“That is not true.”
“I don’t care what you do with him or any other student for that matter. All I need is my share.” He winks. His wink disgusts me. It’s nothing compared to Christian’s.
I wonder why my past has to resurface at a time I have just made a major stride in my career; at a time when I feel like my jolly six-year-old self at a birthday party (the only party my father attended); at a time when I have strongly considered Christian a fair replacement of Xander.
I weigh my options; throw a tantrum by shouting and accusing John of sexual harassment; cower to his demands and become his sex slave and get fired when he’s done with me; or, play interested until I have a plan to execute. After all, lunch time stories are told of how he sleeps with students and his juniors with impunity.
As if he has sensed my dilemma, he walks back to his desk and tells me to think about his proposition and let him know what gift I want for a Christmas. I look him in the eye without saying a word, a technique I use to make a point. I promise that by the time I am done with him, he will regret ever considering seeing my nakedness. He has no idea I meant every word when I swore I go back to my whorish ways for anything or anyone in the world.
I get up to leave, my most innocent smile on display. I ask if he wants us to talk more after work. He falls for it. I wish he knows how much I’ll make him pay for his sin.
For weeks, I flirt with John without getting sweaty with him. He is too eager to be pleased he misses the little details of revulsion. I remember Susan praising my flirting game and how it had gotten my forevers wherever I wanted them to be.
I miss having a friend like Su to talk to, but I’ve vowed never to go back to that life or anyone close to it. Su swore she would rather die than get a ‘normal’ job like I have.
As I flirt with John, I plot his downfall. He has students who satisfy his sexual appetite every so often within the confines of his office. That is against all rules and regulations. I just have to pick one of his victims who doesn’t mind playing snitch.
Before long, my plan falls in place. An anonymous tip is sent to the Human Resource Director about John’s unofficial activities during lunch break. He is told to take leave as investigations commence.
With John out of the way, Christian’s words resume teasing at my heart strings. I’m also appointed acting manager for my department after John hands in his resignation, probably afraid the probe would find him guilty.
I am relieved and excited but I badly need someone to share the events of my life with; someone with whom I can talk about my badly-cooked Sunday meals without being judged.
On the final day of work that semester, I arrive home and lay in bed, face up and toy with two temptations; dialling Su’s number with a possibility of getting dragged to a shadowy past, or accepting Christian’s coffee date with the risk of embarking on a dangerous ride with another bit of forever.
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