Martin shook his head as he read the BBM messages from his best friend, Siji. He sighed heavily and typed a reply.

Your boyfriend shaaaaaa…He’s such a stressful person.

Is it your stress? Pls leave him like that for me <3, Siji typed back.

Martin scoffed as he read the reply. He really didn’t see what Siji saw in Ayo that attracted him and made him stay for nigh on two years! In Martin’s opinion, Ayo was a petty, insecure bitch, but maybe Martin was simply reflecting the extreme dislike Ayo always showed towards him.

Pele, no vex o, lover boy, he replied.

LMAO, Siji laughed.

So, what now? Did your Oga allow you to use Liliana as a beard?

Ayo never forbade me, Siji replied.

Martin grinned as he imagined the annoyed expression on Siji’s face.

Oh, yeah, he only threw a crazy fit worthy of a Real Housewives franchise. He didn’t forbid you at ALL!

Lol. Shuttup abeg! Why do I even tell you stuff?

Cos u love me boo, Martin grinned as he typed. His fingers raced over his keypad as he continued: PS, Pls delete the part where I said you love me, before your boyfriend will come and stab me in my sleep.

You are actually mad sha! Siji replied, after sending a dozen ROTFL smileys. FYI, Ayo and I have passed that whole ‘Let-me-see-ur-phone’ phase. Nothing but trust in our relationship.

Of course, that’s why ur bf wanted to die at the thought of you on the arm of a lesbian. Such trust, Martin retorted.

Please DIE! You can’t understand.

Are you sure you yourself understand?

Ugh. Pls. Shift. Meanwhile, this whole beard thing…I am still unsure. It’s basically Liliana’s idea.

Eiyaa. The poor girl is just looking for how to fill the void in her life created by her girlfriend’s marriage.

Martin shuddered as he typed this. He couldn’t imagine loving someone and then having to let them go just because of societal and familial pressures. However, sadly, that was the reality of many same sex relationships in Nigeria. It would be his fate as well, if he fell in love again, which he wouldn’t anyway, so no worries there.

I get sha, Siji replied. But having a beard is just lying to yourself and to everyone.

Hmmm, when your boss asks you ‘How are ur babes?’ and you reply ‘Fine sir’, are you not lying? Martin typed. It was past 9am, meaning that he had been sitting in the Human Resources unit of his new job, filling forms for more than an hour. He was cold, hungry and his bladder was getting full.

Well, what should I tell him? ‘No babes sir, just my boo who happens to have a penis like me’? GUY! Siji replied with a rolling eye smiley.

Exactly bro. As long as you cannot leave your comfortable closet, you will always be a liar, somehow. So why not just make the lie more convincing with a flesh and blood girlfriend? You even have free offer of girlfriendship and ur complaining.

Siji was typing a reply, when the door to the empty office Martin was occupying opened, and a portly woman that smelled of lavender walked in. She saw forms neatly piled on the teak table and the more-than-relieved expression on Martin’s face, and she smiled.

“Ah, Mr. Okorie,” she said, “you are done with documentation, I see. You are fast.”

“Yes ma, I’m done. Am I required to do anything else?” he inquired.

“Nothing more for now. Let me take you to see the head of your department.”

“The Head of Investment banking?” Martin echoed, slightly panicked. He had met the man before during his interview process and he’d had a no-nonsense attitude, a sharp tongue and a hard face. Martin had even thought he had lost the job after the disastrous interview, but alas, here he was.

The woman laughed and gave Martin an understanding look. “Yes, him. He’s a bit intimidating, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.” She pursed her lips before continuing, “Actually, he isn’t around for a couple of days, so you’ll be meeting the next person down the chain of command. Come with me please.”

Martin stood up and followed the lady out of the office. They walked past several glass-walled rooms, and then entered an elevator that took them up two floors to the fourth floor. Martin would have preferred the stairs, because he needed any extra gluteal exercise he could get. Nobody preferred pancake to red velvet.

They got to the fourth floor and walked past an empty boardroom. The lady waved and called out a greeting to a tall woman in an expensive-looking beige pantsuit, and then turned into another corridor.

“That is the Head of Investment Banking’s office,” she said to Martin, pointing towards a heavy door at the end of the corridor.

Martin nodded silently, trying not to look too awed by the tasteful but obviously expensive decor that graced every corner of the building.

They stopped at another heavy wooden door, and the woman knocked before sticking her head in. “Hi Emeka, may I come in?”

“Hey! Madame Henrietta! Come in please,” a deep baritone called from inside.

She opened the door wider and beckoned Martin in.

“I came to hand over the new hire for investment banking to you,” Henrietta said, gesturing to Martin.

“Good day sir, I’m Martin Okorie,” Martin replied, struggling not to trip over his tongue as he spoke. Jesus Christ, this man was sexy! Was one of his ogas really this 6 feet, broad shouldered, and firm jawed buff hunk of a man?

Emeka smiled, threatening to blind Martin with a dazzling smile.

“Hello, Martin, I’m Emeka. Pleased to meet you.” He extended his hand to Martin, and as soon as their skins touched, Martin knew he was in trouble.

Written by Santa Diaba

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