Lllit was full, despite the fact that it was off peak. It was safe to say that she wasn’t the only one who couldn’t afford the peak prizes. She changed in what happened to be the cleanest locker room and entered the gym, rearing to go. Her enthusiasm quickly died - every machine was taken. She hovered in the corner and watched people pump iron and run nowhere. Eventually someone left a workout ball and she sat on it, uncertain of how to begin.
She bounced on it a few times and then rolled it with her bum. She wondered what she was meant to be doing with her hands.
“Need help?” chimed in a familiar voice.
She turned around and found herself staring up at the yummy stranger that had found her amusing.
“Hi,” she breathed. He had sweat dripping off him, but sweat had never looked more sexy. He dabbed at the drops with a bright blue towel. She tried not to stare.
He had stubble on his chin and around his mouth, and she focused on that instead.
“I didn’t know you were on the off-peak plan.”
“I’m not. And you’re using that ball wrong. You’re not supposed to just bounce on it.”
“I think it’s working.”
“Yes. It’s working very hard at doing nothing at all.”
She wondered if she could make him laugh again.
“Well, who died and made you balls policeman.”
He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to a side. And then he nudged the ball, so it turned her over and she fell on the ground. She gasped. But before she had an opportunity to fully grasp what was happening, his palm was reaching out to her. She took it and he lifted her up.
“We both know you deserved that.”
She narrowed her eyes.
“You’re a bit familiar for a stranger.”
“Yomi. Yomi Oluwadunni,” he told her. Even his name was yummy. He let go of her hand and she missed how steady and strong his grip on her had been. She watched his hand fall to the side and stay there. There was no ring on his finger. “Now it’s your turn.”
“What’s – your – name?”
“You’ve forgotten your name?”
“Hey, just let me think for a moment.”
“You need to think?”
“No, no…I just. The workout. And the falling on the floor. I’m out of breath.” He curled his upper lip and she knew he hadn’t fallen for a single word she said.
“I’m Demi. Abidemi Adegboyega.”
“Yomi, I’m done men.” A short man drew up to them, interrupting their conversation. Demi tried to think quickly of a ruse that would require Yomi to take her number, but she had never been quick on her feet.
“It was nice meeting you properly.”
“Ditto.” Ditto? She couldn’t get dorkier if she tried. He smiled at her, and walked away. She sat on the ball but she had lost all zest for bouncing. Besides, it was time to get back to work if she wanted to avoid being missed.
The shower rooms were very well maintained and in 15 she was dressed, in 30, she was back in the office. She bumped into Tosin as she opened the office door.
“Where have you been?” he asked. “The boss is looking for you.”
“What’s it about?”
“No idea babe.”
By her time, she was only ten minutes over her hour lunch break; surely her boss wouldn’t begrudge her that? After all, she rarely took a break away from her desk. She had a good collection of crisps and chocolates in one of the drawers.
She sidled over to the door. She could see that Dotun was sitting inside; and if one could use the past few days to judge, Dotun’s presence did not bode well. She knocked gently. Her boss looked up and waived her in.
Mr Bode Yola was a sixty year old man with a fluffy afro and an odd need to be one of them; when he wasn’t micro-managing them.
“Good afternoon sir.”
“What’s up? Where were you?”
“I…umm…went for a break sir.”
“Good for you!” chimed in Dotun, “You’re trying to lose weight!” Demi considered stuffing her gym card in Dotun’s mouth, it would kill two birds with one stone.
“Excellent. Excellent. Please sit down Demi.” Demi obliged, but she angled her chair so she wouldn’t be in direct access to the spray of saliva that would be coming from her boss’s mouth. “I called you both here because as you well know, we are about to get the Opar account and I need someone hardworking and meticulous to manage it.”
Demi held her breath. Before the proposal, she hadn’t been looking for any more responsibility at work, but the way she was going, her work might very well become the only thing she had going for her. Besides, she didn’t think she could bear to lose out to Dotun. She tried to focus on the words that were coming from Mr Yola’s mouth.
“So I will need both of you to continue to do what you do and I will let you know at the soonest, who will handle it.”
“Oh thank you sir! I know there are many talented people here and I really appreciate that you noticed how many hours I dedicate and how few breaks I take.”
“Yes, you are a hardworker. You are both hard workers.”
“Yes, yes of course. We both are. And I feel that with the responsibility of a marriage, my dedication will only increase.”
Demi was pretty certain that weddings and being married tended to be a distraction from work but her boss was nodding. She remembered that she was yet to thank him.
“Thank you for the opportunity sir.”
“May the best woman win.” Dotun held out her hand and Demi shook it.