Love Eventually is a story about love between two people who have no business being together. Check below on an excerpt from the novel:
There were two men in the outer office. Seated behind a desk was Oliver, one of the paralegals employed by the firm. Stout figured and prematurely balding, he had beady eyes that seemed to sink into his doughy face the more aggravated he got.
And the man standing before him was clearly giving him a lot of aggravation. The man was also the person wearing the familiar well-polished shoes.
Cordelia was so surprised by his presence that she hastily drew back out of sight to afford her the time to observe the man without any interruption.
He was tall, about 6 feet 2, looked to be in his thirties, and was extremely fit. His sinewy build was evident even through the dark suit he wore, which hung immaculately over his frame. His voice was deep, and he stood, his wide back to her and with one hand in his pocket; he painted the picture of a man who was always in control of his environment.
“Look, oga, I have tell you,” Oliver blustered, his eyes almost vanishing into the shiny fat of his face, “it is 2500 naira to do affidavit.”
“And I’m telling you that you must be joking!” the man shot back. “I hope you’re not a representation of how things are run here. Because if you are, I have the mind of –”
“Excuse me, sir,” Cordelia cut in, emerging from her corner.
Both men whirled around to face her. She saw Oliver’s eyes widen with alarm and the other man’s face tighten with more grimness. She had always suspected the paralegal used his position in the firm to wield an undue influence on the firm’s walk-in clients, extorting here and demanding for kickbacks there. She’d heard talk, but hadn’t witnessed any such incident to warrant a report from her to the senior partner. Today, the paralegal, it would seem, hadn’t reckoned with the difficulty of this potential client, and hadn’t known any of the lawyers would be around. He hadn’t been at his desk when she returned to the office early from her lunch break.
“Erm, madam –” Oliver began.
“Do you work here?” the other man interjected. He had the kind of attitude that demanded forthrightness, and Cordelia barely had time to register his handsomely put-together features, before feeling the brunt of the disturbing intensity in his gaze.
“Yes, I do, sir. My name is Cordelia.” She had not introduced herself as Cordelia in a long time. Something about this man did not brook any dissemblance. “And you are?”
“A very unimpressed individual,” he snapped.
Cordelia took the salvo with her poise still intact. “What seems to be the problem, sir?”
“Erm, madam,” Oliver said hastily, “the problem is that –”
“I believe the question was meant for me,” the man cut in with a tone that iced off the remainder of Oliver’s words. Turning back to Cordelia, he began, “My name is Philip Ekezie. I was over at the High Court next door to get an affidavit sworn, but it seemed the clerk was off duty. Someone at the court referred me to this office, saying you guys offer the service of getting affidavits done when the clerks at the court are unavailable. And in spite of my aversion for back channels, here I am, only to have this – this” – he flailed mentally for a suitable word to express his disdain for Oliver, before settling on – “person try to swindle me for more money than I know is appropriate for a mere affidavit.”
“Madam, is lie!” Oliver burst out. “Is lie – is just that –”
“That’ll be enough out of you, Oliver,” Cordelia said coolly. A smile surfaced onto her face as she refocused on the man before her. “My sincerest apologies, Mister – er, I mean, Phil – may I call you Phil?”
The man’s gaze turned flinty. “The name is Philip, not Phil. And Mr. Ekezie will do just fine.”
“Okay, Mr. Ekezie,” she said easily. “Again I apologize for our staff member’s exuberance –”
“Exuberance?” Mr. Ekezie’s brows crocheted with displeasure. “You make it sound like his conduct is commendable.”
“It’s absolutely not. And after our business with you, I’ll make sure he’s disciplined accordingly. Meanwhile, if I could just have your letter indicating what it is you’d like to swear for…” Her eyes fell fractionally to his other hand which held a white envelope in it.
“It’s my access card. I work in an auditing firm. The affidavit is to get the loss on the record back at my workplace, as a matter of principle.”
“Very well. Let me just have your letter, and we can have all this sorted out without further delay.”
He handed the envelope to her, and at her polite gesture, turned to take a seat in a corner of the small lounge. Cordelia slid the sheet of paper out from inside the envelope and unfolded it to skim through the claim printed on it. The letter was brief and the wording strong and direct – yet another echo of Philip-not-Phil-Ekezie’s personality.
Handing the letter to Oliver, she said sotto voce, “Get this quickly handled. And better pray I’m in a forgiving mood by the time our senior partner gets back to the office.”
The paralegal scurried off to attend to his assignment.
Alone with Mr. Ekezie in the lounge, Cordelia drew close to him, her genial disposition apparent. “Would you like something to drink, sir?”
“No,” came his clipped response.
She settled down on a chair two seats away from him. Then she clasped her fingers together over her thighs. “So…working in an auditing firm…you must be an auditor then, yes?”
He gave a look, before answering, “Yes, I am.”
“What happened with your access card? You didn’t really state in the –”
“Anachunam. Cordelia Anachunam.”
“Right. I don’t mean to be rude, but we really don’t have to put up with the charade of small talk. As a matter of principle, I just want to get my business here over and done with. Anything other than that is just a waste of my time.”
Cordelia blinked at him. That was him not meaning to be rude? She felt stung by his brusqueness, and her hackles rose a little bit. She had the good mind of walking back to her office and leaving this miserable man here, but she suspected that her presence here would irritate him, albeit less than her small talk. So she leaned back on her seat, crossed her legs and focused on her Blackberry.
The silence ticked by with an undercurrent of tension. In spite of her affected repose, Cordelia’s insides were bunched up with an inexplicable tenseness. She suspected it had to do with the unpleasant man beside her. Every now and then, her eyes slid from her phone screen to observe him. He was also tending to his business on his phone, and Cordelia’s gaze was drawn to his fingers which held the phone in his palm. She stared at them, noting both their length and latent strength. They were beautifully formed, begging to be explored and admired, one by one.
Catching her breath at the derailment of her thoughts, she forced her eyes back to her phone screen. Just then, Oliver came bustling back into the office. Both of them got to their feet at once.
“Sir, it have done now,” he said as he returned the envelope to Mr. Ekezie.
The man studied the letter for a quick moment, nodded when he was done, paid for the service and as he slipped the envelope into the inner section of his suit jacket, he started out of the office.
“Not even a thank you, sir?” Cordelia was helpless to stop the words from escaping her lips.
Mr. Ekezie stilled as his hand enclosed the door knob. His broad shoulders stiffened before he turned that unnerving intensity in his eyes on Cordelia. The concrete slab his face had transformed to seemed like the prelude to a blistering rejoinder.
But it never came. His good manners prevailed.
“Thank you,” he said through gritted teeth, before jerking the door open and stalking out of the room, his well-shod footfalls giving off staccato exclamation marks on his determination never to have anything more to do with Cordelia Anachunam and her workplace.
If you enjoyed this, you should read the entire novella, after fetching it from okadabooks HERE.