As promised, here is the second half of Chapter one of My Boss’s Son.
It’s a romance novel set in Lagos, Nigeria, tackling work based sexual harassment, identity crises, long distance relationships, and more.
Can’t wait to share this love story with you. For now, here’s a preview.
I give my head a vigorous shake. No, couldn’t be. He’d danced with my other female colleagues, and I wasn’t the only one dancing and having fun. Lisa, Ebele, Yemisi and Hanatu were right there with me. All young women at the same level in the company as me. So, that can’t be it.
Doubt floods my senses as I amble out of the elevator. Maybe I’m not the asset to Zilteck I imagine myself to be. Maybe sleeping with the boss is the only way he can justify my promotion.
I walk through the long corridor and into my own tiny cubicle at the end of the large office space, careful to avoid eye contact with my four office mates. Nobody says a word to me as I settle onto my seat. The silence is eerie, as if the entire office knows what’s just happened to me.
Still keeping my gaze averted, I switch on my computer, my mind whirling in scattered circles, myriad emotions clutching at my chest. The most prominent and devastating of all—a heart-piercing shame.
Why am I still here? Why am I not packing up my stuff in a box and getting the hell out of this place?
It’s not too late to salvage my self-respect. I could retrace my elevator ride, storm into Chief Madu’s office, and quit. The very thought fills me with a heady elation.
And a sinking dread.
I open the database software and continue inputting the numbers. Just like I do every day.
For the rest of the day, I carry on as if nothing has happened. Like a zombie on the inside, but behaving business-as-usual on the outside. None of my co-workers ask me how my promotion interview went. In a way, I’m glad. I don’t have to lie, or explain to anyone why I’m still here after such an indecent proposal. But somewhere deep inside me, disappointment simmers.
Maybe if someone asked, I’d talk about it, share with them how totally confused I feel. How surprised and ashamed I am that I didn’t throw his proposal back in his face and walk out of the building without a backward glance.
Maybe if the person asked me why I didn’t, I’d come up with an answer. Because I sure haven’t on my own all day.
Five hours later, I push open the door of my home, still numb and unable to fully process what’s going on with me. Am I really considering this?
I’m thirty-one years old, still living hand to mouth, working at a gruelling job with a salary that barely covers my monthly bills. This is my chance to earn a little more, to finally be able to afford a bit better for myself without needing to always borrow money from my brother.
As it is, I already owe him nearly a million Naira. Not that he cares. He’s told me not to pay him back, but that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s just not in my nature to be in debt. Even to family.
To enhance my income, I’ve tried so many side gigs—selling hair extensions, selling clothes, selling bags and shoes. None have been profitable.
With a drawn-out sigh, I sink into the soft cushion of my sitting room couch. Bending forwards, I peel off my six-inch stilettos and toss them on the floor.
One would think I’d have better employment luck. I certainly thought so with my second-class upper degree in Mass Communications from Sandhill College. But the frightfully expensive private university hasn’t done a thing for me. In fact, after a year-long, bank internship for my compulsory youth service, I ended up unemployed for nearly eleven months, living off my brother.
I only managed to land a job at Zilteck with my best friend’s help. If Belinda hadn’t connected me with a friend of hers who worked there, I’d probably owe my brother a few million more Naira. And even with the job, here I am stuck at the same level six years later. No salary increment, no career progress, and no way to quit. The economy is horrid right now, and there are simply no jobs out there.
That’s why learning I had finally been recommended for promotion made me come alive with excitement. At last, some hope, a welcome silver lining, some good news to hang onto. And now, just like the sudden detonation of a bomb, that dream has been shattered and I’ve been catapulted back to reality. I’ll have to either sell my soul to get what I deserve, or quit and have nothing at all.
Letting out another weary sigh, I pull out the tablet in my bag and lean back on the couch. Using the numeric passcode, I unlock it and click open the Cupidess dating app. My last-ditch effort at entrepreneurship.
When I had the idea to start a dating site three years ago, I was convinced the venture would take off. Inspired by my love for romance novels, I hoped it would be a safe space for people to find love.
Men and women who passed security background checks would register for a monthly fee and input information on what they were looking for in a partner into the data. The database would search for possible matches based on similarities and compatibility.
Pumped by the innovation of it all, I implored Brenda invest. And just like always, my bestie turned sister-in-law was all in. With her backing, we were off and running.
At first, Cupidess garnered mega interest. The site grew fast, even to the brink of making a profit after just a year.
I even found my ex-boyfriend Tayo on the app. And although the relationship fizzled out several months later because he moved away from Lagos, we had a wonderful time together.
Too bad that just like the relationship, Cupidess started to fizzle out, too. And poof … there went my ambitious dream for a cutting-edge dating website.
Nicking the inner membrane of my cheek with my teeth, I click on the website analytics, and my stomach convulses. Another ten people have deactivated their accounts in the past week, making a total of thirty in a month.
Not their fault, I guess. In a bad economy, which is getting worse every day, very few people can afford to pay to find love. Everyone’s trying to survive, and with a monthly subscription of four thousand Naira—the cheapest I could make it and not run up a massive loss—it’s just not sustainable. For the consumers or me.
I drag my thumb across the screen. Very soon, I’ll have to deactivate the website, and put an end to what I hoped would be the breakthrough to my real dream—to host a television talk show about relationships and life. Just like Oprah Winfrey, my idol.
I blow out a harsh laugh. If I can’t even make an online app work, how on earth will I successfully pitch the idea to a television network?
The tears I’ve been holding back since my meeting with Chief Madu begin to fall down my eyes. Wiping at my cheeks angrily, I continue to stare at the screen of my Samsung tablet, my gaze fixed on the dating app I believed would launch me into showbiz.
What a bloody shame. Three years gone down the drain. The ultimate joke is I thought this would be so successful that I wouldn’t need to work at Zilteck … or anywhere. Now, I have a terribly hard decision to make about that awful job.
The tablet pings, jarring me from my sorrowful musings.
You have a new message from Cupidess.
I look at the username. Justin Igwe?
I let out an annoyed hiss. What idiot is using a celebrity’s name and picture on my dating site, trying to deceive unwitting women. As if the famous Nigerian-British actor, starring in one of the most popular drama series on the London BAC-TV network, would be looking for love on a Nigerian dating site. I should deactivate this account and save a lot of women a lot of trouble. In fact, I’ll have a word with the company I use for the background checks required for all Cupidess users. How on earth did they manage this slip up?
Twisting my lips into a sneer, I click open the message. Irritation prickles my skin as I read.
Justin Igwe: I’m intrigued by you and want to get to know you better, Adanna. Please reply to my message.
“Mtchew!” I hiss again. “You chose the wrong time to bug me, buddy!”
He obviously thinks I’m one of those ditsy chicks who’s so desperate for a man, I’ll believe anything. A man not confident enough to use his own profile name and picture to interest women is completely useless.
“Not today, Satan,” I mutter, grinding my teeth as I poise my fingers on the lower half of the tablet.
With my lips pressed into thin lines, I begin to tap rapidly on the screen, letting my entire day’s frustration flow from my chest, through my fingertips, and into every word I type in response to the idiot.
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